The Getaway
Top 19 European Vacation Destinations

There is a lot to consider when determining which European cities you should visit. Are you interested in a cultural and historic tour of Europe? Would you rather relax by the beach with a cocktail in your hand? Are you a thrill-seeker looking for adventurous hikes and extreme skiing? Are you mostly interested in art and architecture? Luckily for you, Europe is a vast continent with an array of cities containing everything you could want in a vacation. And you don't have to choose just one. Hop on a train and explore several of these exciting cities.


01 London, England


If the thought of traveling to a foreign country where you don't speak the language overwhelms you, London is the perfect city to visit. Take a double-decker bus tour for the most comprehensive tour of the city. For an aerial view of London, take a ride on the London Eye, the iconic riverside observation wheel. Make sure the catch the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace. And end the day with a pint and some fish and chips at one of the thousands of London's traditional pubs.

LUNAMARINA / Getty Images


02 Barcelona, Spain


Barcelona is one of the top travel destinations in Europe with tons of unique, Gothic architecture, great food, and festive nightlife. A walking tour or bus tour will provide views of the famous Sagrada Familia and other iconic buildings by architect Antoni Gaudi. Relax by the beach and end the day eating tapas at Las Caracoles, the oldest restaurant in Barcelona. Tapas are Spanish appetizers such as marinated olives or a Spanish tortilla, consisting of egg, potatoes, and onion.

Eloi_Omella / Getty Images


03 Amsterdam, Netherlands


Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands, is known for its canal system, beautiful narrow houses, and rich artistic history. Vist the Anne Frank house which has been preserved and converted into a museum. Take a canal cruise or a bike tour through the city. Or take a windmill tour and end the day with a beer tasting.

Noppasin Wongchum / Getty Images


04 Vienna, Austria


For those who appreciate art and music, Vienna is the perfect city to visit. Vienna was home to Mozart, Beethoven, and Sigmund Freud. St. Stephen's Cathedral serves as the city's centerpiece and is open for visitation. Tour Schönbrunn Palace, a grand estate that was originally constructed in 1696 as a hunting lodge. And on any Monday through Saturday, stroll through Naschmarkt, the open-air market overflowing with fresh fruits, meats, and sweet treats.

AleksandarGeorgiev / Getty Images


05 Rome, Italy


The hustle and bustle of Rome combined with its rich history make this city the perfect spot for a European vacation. Take a self-guided audio tour through the Colosseum, the ancient amphitheater with a gruesome yet fascinating history. Climb the Spanish steps before having a traditional Italian dinner. And make sure to toss a coin in the Trevi Fountain, which is rumored to ensure you return to Rome again someday.

DieterMeyrl / Getty Images


06 Athens, Greece


Visiting Athens, Greece feels like stepping back into ancient times. The Parthenon on the Athenian Acropolis dates back to 447 BC and overlooks the entire city. Visit the Benaki Museum to peruse Greek art, from prehistory to the modern age. Greek cuisine is some of the best in the world so make sure to taste the dolmadakia, baklava, and souvlaki.

sborisov / Getty Images


07 Berlin, Germany


Berlin is Germany's capital dating back to the 13th century. Today, Berlin is a hub of art, food, museums, and history, making it an enjoyable city to visit. Be sure to visit the Brandenburg Gate, the most photographed spot in Berlin. If you go to Berlin in September or October, get tickets to Oktoberfest to enjoy the beer and festivities. Or visit during the winter and attend the biggest Christmas market in the world.

77studio / Getty Images


08 Lisbon, Portugal


Just west of Spain lies Portugal and its capital Lisbon. Lisbon has become a popular European destination due to its ornate architecture, beautiful views, and colonialist history. Visit the Sao Jorge Castle for some of the best views in the city. The waterfront Belem is a neighborhood that houses many of Lisbon's monuments and museums.

RossHelen / Getty Images


09 Paris, France


Paris is known as one of the most romantic cities to visit in Europe. Its rich history and beautiful architecture make it easy to pack the day with tours and museum trips. Visit the towering 13th-century cathedral known famously as Notre-Dame. Take a day trip to visit the luxurious Palace of Versailles. And visit a creperie to eat Paris' famous crepes.

encrier / Getty Images


10 Edinburgh, Scotland


The gardens and neoclassical buildings of Edinburgh make it a can't-miss city for any European vacation. The Edinburgh Castle is a massive old fortress with breathtaking city views. If you are a whiskey aficionado, be sure to book a scotch tasting. As Scotland is known for its traditional kilts, visit a kilt-maker and pick one up as a souvenir.

evenfh / Getty Images


11 Maribor: Slovenia's hidden gem

Maribor, Slovenia. RudyBalasko / Getty Images

Nestled in the northeastern region of Slovenia, Maribor is a charming cultural and culinary center that's steeped in history. Its roots date back to the Middle Ages, and the city's architectural heritage is a testament to its rich past. Maribor is particularly proud of its Guinness World Record standing as the oldest grapevine in the world. Whether you're a wine enthusiast or a history buff, Maribor offers a wealth of authentic experiences that will leave you yearning for more.


12 Cittadella: Italy's best-preserved walled city

Cittadella Freeartist / Getty Images

Located in the heart of the Veneto Region in Northern Italy, Cittadella is not only the most beautiful walled city in Europe, but also its best-preserved. Its strategic position makes it a stone's throw away from the most important cities in the area: an hour’s drive from Venice and Verona. With its medieval origins and historical value, Cittadella is a must-visit for anyone seeking a unique blend of history and Italian charm.


13 Essen: Germany's green metropolis

Famous Tower and Aalto Theater in Essen at dusk Westend61 / Getty Images

Essen, Germany's third-greenest city, is a pulsating metropolis at the heart of the Ruhr region. Here, urban trendy districts meet historic old towns, high culture meets street art, and lush green meadows meet the incomparable charm of former collieries. Also in Essen, the UNESCO World Heritage Zollverein meets the magnificent Villa Hügel, the former seat of the industrial Krupp family. Essen is a city that effortlessly blends the old with the new, making it a must-visit destination.


14 Veszprém: The city of Queens

View of Veszprem with a catholic church and snowy trees in winter Janos Varga / Getty Images

Veszprém, the European Capital of Culture 2023, is also the Best Destination to visit in Hungary in 2023. Known as the “City of Queens,” Veszprém is wedged between the wooded slopes of the Bakony Hills and the northern shore of Lake Balaton. It’s a place of rare and distinct natural and environmental assets and an attractive cityscape. This amazing city has been a meeting place for cultures for a thousand years and offers a vibrant music scene and diverse festivals.


15 Grenoble Alps: France's green destination

Beautiful Mountain Landscape HDR mmac72 / Getty Images

Grenoble, nestled at the heart of emblematic mountain ranges including Vercors, Chartreuse, and Belledonne, is a pioneer, innovative, and inspiring city. Selected as the best green destination for this year's competition, Grenoble offers a subtle balance between culture, living arts, open spaces, and outdoor activities. Whether you're an adrenaline junkie or a nature lover, Grenoble Alps is the perfect destination for an urban and nature-based stay.


16 Mannheim: The city of squares

mannheim taranchic / Getty Images

Known as the city of squares, Mannheim offers a host of architectural treasures and a rich calendar of events. It's also a green city on the banks of two rivers that combines urbanity with recreational activities in almost entirely untouched natural settings. Mannheim is an exciting university city with a multicultural flair, making it a vibrant and dynamic destination for travelers.


17 Porto-Santo: Madeira's golden island

Aerial view of Porto Santo island island beach cicerocastro / Getty Images

Porto Santo, the little sister of the main island of Madeira, is a paradise for beach lovers. Known as a “golden island” for its nine kilometers of sandy beach, Porto Santo offers beautiful beaches, historical heritage, and geological exuberance. It's the perfect place to disconnect, enjoy nature, relax watching the sunset, have a good spa treatment, a game of golf, or a seafaring activity.


18 Budapest: The Pearl of the Danube

Hungarian Parliament Building Aerial View, Budapest, Hungary R.M. Nunes / Getty Images

Budapest, Hungary's capital, is known for its stunning architecture, thermal baths, and vibrant nightlife. The city is split into Buda and Pest by the Danube River, each side offering its unique charm. From the historic Buda Castle and Fisherman's Bastion on the Buda side to the bustling Great Market Hall and ruin bars in Pest, Budapest is a city that captivates at every turn.


19 Canary Islands: Spain's tropical paradise

Woman hiker watching beautiful costal scenery. - Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain. coast view, mountain Anaga Andrii Marushchynets / Getty Images

The Canary Islands, a Spanish archipelago off the coast of northwestern Africa, are known for their black and white sandy beaches. Each island has its unique charm, from the lunar-like landscapes of Lanzarote to the lush forests of La Palma. Whether you're looking for a relaxing beach holiday, an adventurous hiking trip, or a cultural exploration, the Canary Islands offer something for every traveler.


Scroll Down

for the Next Article

The Getaway Badge
Sign up to receive insider info and deals that will help you travel smarter.