“Collect memories not things”…I read that somewhere once and it really resonated with me. What better way to make awesome memories than to travel? Exploring the world allows you to meet different people and experience new cultures all while accumulating hundreds of photos of your journeys to look back at and reminisce about later. Maybe you took a gap year after high school to wander off the beaten path. Perhaps you’re studying abroad while in undergrad or planning to take some time off after graduation to go backpacking. Whatever your plans, travel is a luxury that should not be taken for granted but an experience that all millenials should strive to take more advantage of. It allows us to expand our horizons (literally) and experience and understand the diversities of the world. In doing so, we gain perspective on our own lives. I, for one, am dying to fill up the pages of my passport. I have an endless list of destinations on my bucket list including Australia, Japan, and Greece, and I am dying to explore all of Europe. I would go to every country on the continent if I could. But, alas, I’m a poor college student with limited means, so I’ve narrowed down my list to the 10 top places to travel in Europe. Check them out if you’re planning to vacation in Europe soon!
1. The Croatian Coast
From Dubrovnik to Istria, the coastal towns of Croatia along the Adriatic have long been a favorite vacation spot for Europeans. With their reputation for good food and great parties, the popularity of these quaint towns among tourists continues to grow. You may recognize the picturesque landscape as the backdrop for a few of your favorite shows including both Game of Thrones and Below Deck: Mediterranean. Croatia is the ideal place to travel post-grad or take a holiday while you study abroad. Plan your trip around The Yacht Week Croatia or stick to dry land and visit Krka National Park. Whatever you choose to do while here, you’re sure to have the adventure of a lifetime.
Prague is a stunning, 14th-century Eastern European city that somehow managed to escape destruction during both World Wars. This is definitely one of the top places to travel in Europe! Visitors are literally transported to the past. Within the city walls, tourists experience vibrant buildings, cobblestone streets where vendors sell traditional pastries, and the oldest working astronomical clock in the world. Make sure to rub the baroque statue of St. John of Nepomuk on the St. Charles Bridge before you go for good luck.
3. Copenhagen, Denmark
I’ve been hearing amazing things about the capital of Denmark for a few years now. Several of my friends studied abroad there and loved their experiences. From biking down the highways to visiting the hippie commune of Christiania, Copenhagen has a lot of unique experiences to offer travelers. Danish is a notoriously difficult language to learn, so if you’re up for a challenge you should take a class while there. But if—like me—you’re not a linguist, don’t panic. Mostly everyone in the city speaks perfect English, so you should have no trouble getting by. Take care not to eat too many delicious danish pastries or you’ll come back looking like Augustus Gloop!
4. Berlin, Germany
For my history buffs out there, you have to hit up Berlin. It is home to some amazing WWII museums detailing the end of the war. The city also provides great insights into communism, which can be vividly felt when looking upon the Berlin Wall. Check out the East Side Gallery, the remaining part of the Wall along the River Spree, that has been transformed into a huge (free) wall of art. It is an international ode to freedom. Germany, and Berlin in particular, are known for their incredible food and nightlife. The city boasts great German street food such as wurst, as well as Turkish selections like kebabs, thanks to Berlin’s large Turkish population. If dubstep is your thing, hit up Club Gretchen in the old imperial 19th-century stables. There are also day parties with a DJ and a bar during the summer at the Badeschiff, a floating public pool, along the Spree River!
5. Paris, France
Sip champagne along the Seine in one of the top places to travel in Europe! March alongside your French brethren on the Champs-Élysées to celebrate Bastille Day. Ride to the top of the Eiffel Tower. Visit the Louvre Museum. If you’re lucky you may even fall in love in the city of lights. You can’t go to Europe and not come to this city. After all, you don’t want to be known as the girl who didn’t go to Paris.
6. London, England
Ah, England! Home to Queen Elizabeth II, Adele, and Tom Hardy. You could try (almost) every cuisine in the world in its capital, London, including some of the best Indian food. To get the best views of downtown, take a ride on London’s famous Eye. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you cannot find elsewhere in the world. Visit some of Europe’s most prominent historical sites like Buckingham Palace, Tower Bridge, and the Tower of London to ensure that your trip has some epic insta pics. Finally, you can’t drink a proper pint unless you go to a British pub in one of the top places to travel in Europe.
7. Barcelona, Catalonia Spain
Walk barefoot along the beach. Bar hop through the city, eating tapas along the way. Don’t let long lines put you off visiting Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia. The Gothic church is stunning and a must-see while you’re in Barcelona. If you liked that one, Gaudi also designed two other buildings on Passeig de Grácia: Casa Milá and Batllo. Take a little siesta and then meet me for some rooftop sangría in one of the top places to travel in Europe!
8. Florence, Italy
Not only is Florence the art and cultural center of Italy, it is widely considered one of the influencing centers of the world and has been for centuries, making it one of the top places to travel in Europe! Many thanks to the Medici family who catapulted the city to fame and fortune centuries ago. Florence is a beautiful, vibrant city set against a historical backdrop. Take a walk along the Ponte Vecchio, the only surviving bridge from Medieval times that crosses the Arno River. The bridge is lined with shops and is the perfect background for pictures. The Duomo, built in 1436 by Brunelleschi, is hard to miss. A short walk from the Duomo is La Basilica di Santa Croce, one of the most impressive churches in Italy. It houses the tombs of Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli, Rossini and the empty tomb of Dante. Of course, you can’t go to Florence and not eat. That means pasta, pizza, and gelato. But most importantly it means wine. Cheers!
9. Reykjavîk, Iceland
Iceland may not immediately come to mind when you think of European destinations, but it is rapidly becoming one of the most sought after stamps in tourists’ passports. Why? Because it’s so unique! There are glaciers to trek, volcanoes to fly over, not to mention deep-sea diving. Visitors who are scuba-certified can dive between the North American and Eurasian plates at the Silfra Fissure in some of the world’s clearest water. Pack your wetsuit! Not a fan of the open ocean? Me neither, but I wouldn’t mind taking a drive around the island to see some of the glaciers and volcanoes and geysers that Iceland boasts. The Golden Circle drive offers this incredible experience. Iceland is also home to the Blue Lagoon, a swimming pool with temperatures that remain a constant 98-102 degrees Fahrenheit year-round. Locals and tourists flock to these waters rich in minerals and sulfates for their healing properties. All of the aforementioned amenities are reason enough to book your flight, but if there’s one thing you can’t miss while there it’s the Northern Lights. Iceland is one of the best places in the world to view them. You can stay at the eco-friendly Ion Hotel which has a view of the Aurora Borealis as well as lava fields.
10. Budapest, Hungary
People have been living here since the Stone Age so it has plenty of history. The Danube River and Buda Castle are UNESCO world heritage sites, as well. The city uniquely blends Roman, Gothic, and Turkish architecture from the ages, which should make for some lovely photography. The Hungarian Jewish Museum is one of the most beautiful Jewish landmarks in the world with breathtaking arches. It would be a shame to miss it while there, whether you’re Jewish or not. You can stay in the Corinthia Hotel, which is said to have inspired the set of The Grand Budapest Hotel movie. Like Iceland, Hungary has super-thin earth crust which means it is home to over 1,000 hot springs. Budapest has several spas that take advantage of these natural thermal locations, and you should, too. Budapest is exceedingly cheap compared to other locations in Europe making it affordable for young travelers. Also, you can easily take a road trip to nearby Istanbul, another one of the top places to travel in Europe!
Let us know in the comments below if you have any other recommendations for more top places to travel in Europe. Safe travels!
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