15 Unique & Top Rated Places To Visit In Europe

Europe is a continent full of history, culture, and natural beauty. It’s no wonder that so many people dream of visiting this amazing region. If you’re planning a trip to Europe, you’ll want to have a good idea of the places you wish to see.

There are so many places to see in Europe that it can be challenging to know exactly where to start. However, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! In this blog post I teamed up with Emma Parker to discuss 15 of the best places to visit in Europe.

From stunning scenery to world-famous landmarks, there’s something for everyone on this list. Let’s get straight into it!

Disclaimer: Some links in this article are affiliate links, which means that if you purchase through them I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you. This helps cover the cost of running this blog. Thanks for your support!

The Best Places To Visit In Europe

1. Charles Bridge, Prague, Czech Republic

Charles Bridge is one of the oldest bridges in the world. It spans the Vltava River in Prague and is over 500 years old. The bridge has 16 arches and is made of stone. The bridge towers are from the 14th century and are a part of the original construction.

It is a popular tourist destination because of its age and history. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

How to get there

Charles Bridge is located in the centre of Prague. The best way to get there is walking, as the bridge is pedestrian-only. If you’re coming from the Old Town side, you’ll cross the bridge to Mala Strana. 

If you’re coming from Mala Strana, the bridge will take you right into the Old Town.

When to go

The best time to visit Charles Bridge is early morning or evening when it’s not as crowded. However, even at these times, the bridge can be crowded with tourists. If you want to avoid the crowds altogether, visit during winter.

Charles Bridge is one of the top places to visit in Europe

2. Westminster Abbey, London, England

London is jam-packed with top-rated European tourist attractions including Buckingham Palace, The Tower of London and the London Eye. However, one of London’s most important UNESCO World Heritage Sites is Westminster Abbey.

The architecture of Westminster is incredible and, as a functioning abbey, it hosts many special events such as coronations and royal weddings, including the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton in 2011. 

See the ancient Coronation Chair in St George’s Chapel and visit Poet’s Corner where more than 100 poets are buried including William Shakespeare and Charles Dickens. All are welcome to attend the daily services such as morning prayer.

How to get there

The closest tube station is Westminster which is on the Jubilee, District and Circle Lines.

When to go

The UK’s mild climate makes a visit to London possible at any time of year. Get there early morning to avoid the worst of the crowds. It’s closed on Sundays.

3. Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain

The Sagrada Familia is a building of exaggerated elaborateness. This minor basilica is one of Barcelona’s most popular tourist attractions, and a top destination to visit in Europe.

The church is still under construction, but that doesn’t stop visitors from marvelling at its unique architecture.

The church construction began in 1882 and is expected to be completed in 2026. The church was designed by Antoni Gaudi, who also left his mark all over Barcelona with his imaginative designs.

How to get there

The easiest way to get to the Sagrada Familia is by metro. The station closest to the church is called “Sagrada Familia,” and it’s on line 2 (the purple line) and line 5 (the blue line).

When to go

The best time to visit the Sagrada Familia is early in the morning before the crowds start to arrive. Alternatively, you can visit late evening when colorful lights illuminate the church.

The Sagrada Familia is a unique destination to visit in Europe

4. The Hagia Sofia, Istanbul, Turkey

The city where east meets west, this captivating city is one that should be high on your European bucket list (even though half of it sits in Asia :)) At the heart of the old town sits the Hagia Sofia, a Byzantine cathedral converted to an Ottoman mosque.

This World Heritage Site is Turkey’s most popular tourist attraction and for good reason. Although its museum status was revoked in 2020, the mosque is still open for visitors and regular mosque dress codes apply.

Inside this 1500 year old building you can see remnants of Byzantine paintings and mosaics, the famed Weeping Column and tombs of Ottoman Sultans.

Learn more about a Turkey road trip from Istanbul to Cappadocia in this guide

How to get there

The closest tram station is Sultanahmet station but it’s walking distance from most hotels in Sultanahmet where you’ll likely be based for your visit of Istanbul.

When to go

The Hagia Sofia is open year round except on the first days of Ramadan and Eid Ul Adha. It’s closed on Mondays.

The mesmerising Hagia Sofia is a top place to visit in Europe

5. Grand Canal, Venice, Italy

The Grand Canal is one of Venice’s most iconic landmarks and a popular tourist attraction in Europe. The canal winds through the city, providing a unique and picturesque view. The canal is a popular spot for boats and other watercraft, and there are often 5,000 boats navigating the waters daily.

In some places, the canal is nearly two and a half miles long and up to three hundred feet wide. The Grand Canal is a popular tourist destination and an essential part of Venice’s history and culture.

How to get there

The Grand Canal is located in the city of Venice, Italy. Venice can be reached by plane, train, or boat. Once in Venice, the best way to see the Grand Canal is by taking a gondola ride.

Several walking and biking paths along the canal offer beautiful views of the waterway and the city.

When to go

The best time to visit the Grand Canal is in the spring or fall when the weather is cooler. The canal can be pretty crowded during the summer, so if you want to avoid the crowds, plan your trip for another time of year.

The Grand Canal is a popular tourist attraction in Europe
Venice is one of the most romantic cities to visit in Europe

6. Dubrovnik Old Town, Croatia

There are many historic cities dotted along the coast of Croatia and Montenegro but Dubrovnik is one of the finest on offer. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, the “Pearl of the Adriatic” has much to offer tourists.

On a visit to Dubrovnik be sure to walk the famed old city walls which have became even more famous thanks to their feature in A Game of Thrones. Visit the Cathedral and treasury, wander the picturesque old streets and watch the world go by on the Stradun.

How to get there

Dubrovnik has an international airport and there are regular buses from major cities in Croatia such as Zagreb, Rijeka and Split.

When to go

The weather is best during the summer months although these are also the busiest.

Dubrovnik is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe

7. Dona Ana Beach, Lagos, Portugal

If you’re looking for a breathtaking beach close to urbanity, look no further than the stunning Dona Ana Beach in Lagos, Portugal. This gorgeous stretch of sand is just 1.5 miles from the centre of town, and it’s flanked by towering cliffs that have been eroded over time into unique rock formations.

The multi-colored strata of the rocks are a sight to behold, and the crystal-clear waters make for a perfect swimming destination. The Algave is a beautiful place to travel in Europe.

How to get there

To get to Dona Ana Beach, head to Lagos and follow the signs. The beach is well-signposted and easy to find.

When to go

The best time to visit Dona Ana Beach is during the summer when the weather is warm, and the water is perfect for swimming. 

However, the beach can be crowded during peak season, so if you’re looking for a more relaxed experience, try visiting during shoulder season (April-May or September-October).

8. Skadar Lake, Montenegro

Straddling Montenegro and Albania, Lake Skadar is the largest lake in the Balkans. This freshwater lake and protected National Park is surrounded by large karst mountains and is home to over 280 species of birds. 

Explore the traditional fishing villages that surround it, take a boat trip to the island monasteries or venture out on the water by kayak. This is one of Montenegro’s most beautiful places and a must-see on a trip through Europe.

Montenegro made it onto my top European road trip list. Click here to discover the rest!

How to get there

Lake Skadar is best seen by a day trip from Podgorica. Otherwise to fully explore this national park you will need your own transportation. Why not rent a car and embark on a Montenegrin road trip?

When to go

Montenegro lowlands can get brutally hot in the summer so to avoid the heat visit during the shoulder season.

Lake Skadar is one of the most beautiful places in Europe to add to your bucket list

9. Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

The Cliffs of Moher are one of Ireland’s most popular tourist attractions. Over one million visitors come to see the cliffs each year. For the ultimate Ireland road trip itinerary, take a look at this guide.

The Cliffs of Moher are located on the west coast of Ireland in County Clare. They stretch for over eight miles and reach almost 400 feet. The views from the cliff tops are stunning. 

You can see for miles out to sea and across the nearby islands on a clear day.

The Cliffs of Moher have been formed over millions of years by the power of the waves crashing against the rocks. The cliffs are composed of layers of limestone, sandstone, and shale.

How to get there

The Cliffs of Moher are located just off the N67 coast road between Lahinch and Ennistymon. There is a large car park on the cliffs, which is well signposted from the main road. Search for car rentals here.

A bus service also runs to the Cliffs of Moher from Ennis and Galway.

When to go

The best time to visit the Cliffs of Moher is during the summer, when the weather is usually fine. (There is of course no guarantee of good weather on the Emerald Isle!) However, even in winter, the cliffs are an impressive sight to see.

10. The Gorges du Verdon, France

The Gorges du Verdon, in southeast France, is one of the most spectacular and impressive canyons in Europe. Carved out by the Verdon River, it is a truly breathtaking sight, with sheer cliffs towering 2,000 feet above the glacial-blue waters of the river below.

The canyon is around 15 miles long and, at its narrowest point, is only about 330 feet wide. But despite its relatively small size, the Gorges du Verdon is one of the most popular tourist destinations in France, with visitors coming from all over the world to experience its natural beauty.

There are several ways to explore the canyon, including by boat, kayak, and even by swimming in the river. Numerous hiking trails wind their way along the edges of the gorge, offering stunning views of the river below.

How to get there

The Gorges du Verdon is located in the southeastern corner of France, about 100 miles from Nice. The best way to get there is by car, as no public transportation goes directly to the canyon.

Once you arrive in the area, there are several different parking areas to choose from, depending on where you want to start your exploration.

When to go

The best time to visit the Gorges du Verdon is in the summer when the weather is warm and sunny. However, this is also the busiest time of year, so if you want to avoid the crowds, it’s best to visit in the spring or fall.

11. The Leaning Tower of Piza, Italy

The Leaning Tower of Pisa is an icon of Italy. Standing at 60 meters in height and leaning at an unbelievable 10-degree angle, this famous landmark is a unique place to visit in Europe. Although the ground instability led to the tower’s famous lean, experts believe there is no risk of the tower falling over.

The leaning tower is actually a bell tower which belongs the cathedral complex of Pisa. On a visit to Pisa it is now possible to climb inside the tower and you must, of course, do the obligatory selfie where you pretend to hold the tower up!

How to get there

The city of Pisa has an international airport and regular buses and trains run to Pisa square.

When to go

The tower is open year round and is busiest during the summer months.

12. Preikestolen, Norway

Preikestolen, or Pulpit Rock, is one of Norway’s most popular tourist destinations. The massive rock formation towers over the Lysefjord, offering stunning views of the surrounding fjords and mountains. 

Preikestolen is especially popular with hikers and climbers, providing a challenging and rewarding hike to the top.

However, even if you’re not the outdoorsy type, Preikestolen is worth a visit. The top views are breathtaking, and there’s something extraordinary about standing on this massive rock formation.

How to get there

Preikestolen is located in the municipality of Forsand, southwest of the city of Stavanger. The easiest way to get there is by car, and plenty of parking options are available. 

Alternatively, you can take a bus from Stavanger to the Preikestolen Basecamp, which is the starting point for the hike.

When to go

The best time to visit Preikestolen is between May and September when the weather is warm and stable. However, you may want to see outside of the peak season if you’re looking for fewer crowds.

13. Meteora, Greece

When most people think of Greece, the first thing that springs to mind are the beautiful sandy beaches of the Greek Islands. However, on mainland Greece there are many top sights to see, one of the best of which is the unique landscape of Meteora.

Atop the rock formations of Meteora, you can find one of the largest complexes of Eastern Orthodox monasteries. Originally there were 24 monasteries but today there remains only six, which are open to the public. These monasteries are precariously perched on top of natural rounded pillars that are dotted around the valley.

How to get there

The easiest way to visit Meteora is via a day trip from Thessaloniki or Athens. If travelling by bus, take a bus first to Trikala and then onto Kalampaka. From there it’s a big hike, bike or take a taxi.

When to go

The monasteries are open year round and there is a chance of snow during the winter months. Expect big crowds and busy roads around the valley during peak summer months.

For more top things to see and do in Northern Greece, take a look at this guide

Meteora is a unique place to visit in Europe
Meteora is one of the most unique places to go in Europe

14. The Eiffel Tower, Paris, France

The mighty Eiffel Tower is not just an icon of France, it’s a global icon. If you think of Paris, you think of the Eiffel Tower, and this puts Gustave Eiffel’s famous landmark at the top of the list of places to visit in Europe.

Admire this wrought iron structure from afar and then take a trip to the top to admire 360 degree views. The tower is open late most nights so you can visit once it gets dark and the tower is lit up.

How to get there

Access the tower via metro on lines 9, 8 and 6, on the RER using line C or by bus using lines 82 or 42

When to go

The peak season for the Eiffel tower is in the summer months from May to September. Crowds will be fewer during winter and book your ticket online in advance to avoid disappointment.

The Eiffel Tower is an iconic location to visit in Europe
The Eiffel Tower is an iconic landmark in Europe

15. Lake Ohrid, Northern Macedonia

Lake Ohrid is one of Europe’s deepest and oldest lakes and yet this Balkan gem is still relatively unknown to mass tourism. Lake Ohrid straddles the border between North Macedonia and Albania. In North Macedonia, the prettiest place to view the lake is from the small town of Ohrid.

Ohrid old town is comprised of steep cobbled streets where you can wander between old churches before admiring views over the lake from the old fort on the hilltop. Once you’ve finished exploring, head down to the lakeshore where you can enjoy a dip in the water before relaxing in one of the many cafes and restaurants.

How to get there

Daily direct buses run from Skopje every few hours.

When to go

Ohrid is busiest in July and August which is also its hottest period. Visit in June or September to avoid the worst of the heat and the crowds. 

Lake Ohrid is one of the lesser-known tourist attractions in Europe

Travelling Around Europe

Europe is a region that is easy to visit, with a vast network of travel options available between countries and cities.

Flights between popular European cities are frequent and you can check out the best deals here. Alternatively travelling between cities using public transport is made easy with BusBud.

If you want to embark on an adventurous road trip around Europe then be sure to get yourself the best deal on car rental here.

Collaborator Name: Emma Parker

Author Bio: Emma Parker essays on her experiences in the United States and other global experiences, alongside other pursuits related to travelling and teaching. She shares her adventures on her blog – iTravelinn.com.

Louise

Louise is a tour leader from South Wales who runs adventure tours in Africa, Asia and the Americas. She lives in her converted campervan & is currently based in the UK. Louise is trained in mountain leadership and has a passion for photography.

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