Lexi Smith is a travel-addicted, fashion-obsessed, food-infatuated college student currently…
There are so many great European cities to visit in 2017. With the dollar-to-euro and -pound conversion being closer than ever, it seems the perfect time to pack everything but your inhibitions ansd hop on the next plane across the pond. Whether you’re planning spring break or looking for a summer getaway, here’s some of the most breathtaking and fun destinations in Europe to touch down in this year.
With charming accents and a myriad of landmarks, there’s more to experience here than your heart’s desire. From fun times along the Thames to palaces, plays, pubs, and clubs atop the Shard, if you run out of things to do, you’re doing it wrong! But just in case you do, don’t forget to have a spot of afternoon tea at the Cellar Room in Westminster Abbey – you might run into Jude Law!
While in London, why not take a day trip over to Cardiff? A laid-back environment offers opportunities to get in some good exercise meandering from the bus stop to the Parc Argae Caerdydd to the Roald Dahl Plass and back to Cardiff Castle. Grab a drink with locals after catching a rugby game at the Principality Stadium or visit the Dr. Who Experience if you are a superfan of the series.
For people who prefer a more quaint vacation, Edinburgh makes the top of the list. Nonetheless, there is still plenty to do here. Walk around Edinburgh Castle, see where JK Rowling penned parts of Harry Potter at the Elephant Room, or pet the adorable Greyfriars Bobby statue. August commences the city’s Fringe Festival – the largest arts festival in the world with a number of free performances. If you have time, take a day tour up to the Highlands and dip your toes in the same waters Nessie calls home. (Yes, you really can swim in Loch Ness and it is completely worth saying you did).
Just across from the UK lies Dublin, the soul of potatoes, pints, and hearty foot-tapping music. There aren’t enough good things to say about this place. Learn of Irish Catholicism tales at St. Patrick’s Cathedral and see the Book of Kells at Trinity College, pour your own Guinness at their famous storehouse, and dance to your heart’s content at the Temple Bar. No matter your choice, you will always have fond memories of Dublin. When you leave, make sure you do a proper Irish exit.
Belfast is just a short commute from Dublin, and one of the coziest cities you will ever visit. No one can resist having a Jack and Rose moment at the Titanic museum, and an easily accessible tour to Giant’s Causeway won’t disappoint. Dinner at the Barking Dog is a must! This is by far the most delicious restaurant in the world, and your taste buds will forever remember their tapas.
The northernmost capital in the world, Reykjavik is such a unique destination. With beautiful churches, northern lights, and exotic food (yes, fermented shark is a real thing), every moment here will seem unlike any other you’ve experienced. Not to mention the tours to some of Iceland’s most magnificent landmarks, like the Silfra snorkel, Gullfoss, and Geyser. If you think this option may be too cold for your liking, it really is quite moderate, and there are plenty of opportunities to warm up in geothermal baths. The obvious choice is the Blue Lagoon – a one of a kind spa day. If you prefer to avoid the crowds, opt for their Clinic Hotel, where you get your own hotel room and a smaller, more private pool for a few hours.
Another truly individual place, you’ll never meet anyone who had a terrible time here. Snap a photo standing on the infamous Amsterdam sign, witness an emotional part of history at the Anne Frank House, and wind down in the afternoon at one of the city’s many coffee shops (wink wink). For the health nuts, there are plenty of places to bike around. For the kinkier travelers, there is plenty to see too.
Waffle, chocolate, and beer connoisseurs – here is your new home! Brussels is a gorgeous place with Gothic architecture and a comical statue of a peeing baby. The Parc du Ciquantenaire is a great place to have a picnic or visit museums, and Delirium café will leave you feeling quite bubbly. Brussels is also a short distance from Amsterdam, so if you have enough time to see both, please do!
Aptly named, you definitely don’t need a beau to see why this is “The City of Love.” Paris has it all! Everything is walking distance or a quick ride on the Metro, and each site is just as fascinating as the one before. A warning that the Mona Lisa room at the Louvre gets quite crowded, but if you filter through, you can grab a pretty good spot to snap a photo. Montmartre has some of the best crepes out there, and watching the Eiffel Tower sparkle at night with friends over cheese and wine is an idyllic night out. Oh, and one more thing: Ladurée!
With some of the friendliest locals you’ll ever meet, Barcelona is especially wonderful in the summer. It never gets old walking around Port Olímpic or shopping through Las Ramblas while working on your tan. If you’re more of a tourist, there are plenty of rare architectural sites to visit, such as Guadí’s Sagrada Familia and Park Güell. Barcelona is also known for its nightlife, so if you’re the kind who likes to celebrate until sunrise, grab breakfast with friends, take a siesta, and do it all over again – get ready for your passport stamp from this amazing city.
Since Berlin is such an eclectic city – blending historic and modern – you can expect a lot of the unexpected. This place has something for just about everyone – history buffs, art patrons, and fashion experts. Enjoy panoramic views from the Fernsehturm, or base fly from one of the city’s well-known hotels, complete with video and certification. Berlin is also a hub for nightlife, so don’t be afraid to explore the different restaurants and clubs in the city’s Alexanderplatz. You never know what friends you’ll make!
Visiting Munich is particularly vital around Oktoberfest, which actually tends to begin at the end of September. Fun facts aside, pack your dirndl, practice saying “Prost,” and get ready for the biggest and most amazing pretzels of your life. If you want a break from the currywurst and liters of Paulaner, walk around the city’s central plazas to find some lovely Gothic and Baroque churches.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and you’ll definitely want to spend at least a few days in this beautiful place. Saturated with history and culture, you’ll feel like you’re taking a step back in time to the Roman Empire. Devote at least one day to visiting the Colosseum and the Forum, and wake up extra early to beat the crowds and experience the most beautiful sunset of your life at Vatican City. This is also a good time to take a break from any New Year’s diets to indulge in pizza, pasta, wine, and gelato.
Home to Michelangelo’s famous David statue and Botticelli’s Venus painting, this is definitely an artistic city. Stop by the Ponte Vecchio for some fun shops and decadent gelato. And if you don’t walk the stairs to Piazza Michelangelo and climb to the top of Il Duomo di Firenze, you’re missing out on some amazing views and picturesque pro pics!
One of Europe’s most enchanting cities, it is easy to get lost in Venice. And necessary! You’ll see just how infectious the charm of this city is when you’re crossing the quaint little bridges between canals, being serenaded by a gondolier, making friends with pigeons in Piazza San Marco. Since nearly everything is waterfront property, hotels and hostels alike present spectacular views. Be sure to pick up a piece of hand blown glass, purchase a new leather cross body, walk over Rialto Bridge, and make use of Venice’s quirky water taxis. Don’t be afraid to take back alley routes around the city either – they’re by far the most scenic!
Much like Rome, going to Prague almost feels like traveling back in time, and is rife in culture. Ascending the St. Vitus Cathedral provides ample views, and the Old Town Square is great for a mini shopping spree. The Old Jewish Cemetery just nearby is a touching piece of history, and if you’re an architecture buff, stop by Adolf Loos’ Villa Müller and Frank Gehry’s Dancing House. For a fun night out, venture to the Jazz boat for some great music and dancing.
This city boats a number of wonderful things to do – including music, museums, and cafés galore. Check out Gustav’s Klimt famous painting, the Kiss, at the Österreichische Galerie Belvedere, and don’t miss the opportunity to hear angelic singing at the State Opera. Enjoy some quirky architecture at the Hundertwasserhaus, and if you’re an animal lover, you’ll definitely want to book tickets to the Lipizzaner horse show at the Spanish Riding School.
What other places are people exploring this year? Comment some of your favorite travel destinations and recommendations below!
Featured photo source: tumblr.com
Lexi Smith is a travel-addicted, fashion-obsessed, food-infatuated college student currently settled in the heart of Boston. When not exploring the world, she spends her free time editing photos, playing with her adorable westie George Bailey, and looking for her next adventure. Check out some of her work at and get in touch at http://lexplorer.wixsite.com/wanderlost or on instagram @allwhowanderlost.