As a traveler, I am part of various travel groups on Facebook, and in them, I observe that there are many people asking for advice on the best places to travel in Europe. For me, it was always quite strange to think of a trip to Europe crossing the continent from end to end in a short time.
However, after meeting many travelers from South America, I realized that this type of trip was the most common. But remember you cannot cover everything. Sorry. I have been traveling in Europe all, and I still have many places to visit. What you can do is focus on those most interesting cities, those that will leave a mark on your vacation.
My intention in this part 5 of best places to visit in Europe is to give some tips of the best cities in Europe to visit (I will only mention Towns, Cities, and Remote Places, although in Europe it is very worth getting lost in towns and nature areas).
On top of the list of best places in Europe is Tuscany. Tourists love Tuscany for its renaissance-style buildings, food and wine, and warm locals. But if you ask me, I’ll say that the best thing about this place is the countryside views of hills, meadows, and lush forests that touch the heart.
A prime example is the Town of Luca. A thick forest embraces this town and gives out very pristine seclusion. The town is beautiful in itself. On it are Romanesque buildings ranging from churches, residential houses, and museums.
Castles, which could only have existed in fairy tales, are in Tuscany. These either provide a wonderful view of the verdant hilltops, vibrant gardens, or overgrown forests. Examples are Castello di Malaspina, Castello Di Melleto, Castello Di Vincigliata, and Castello Banfi.
As for architectural masterpieces in Tuscany, you have to prioritize seeing is the Leaning Tower of Pisa. I’m sure that you know a lot about this attraction in history books. Nevertheless, the beauty of the Leaning Tower in your imagination isn’t anywhere near the real thing.
How about recreation? Unfortunately, Tuscany doesn’t include great nature parks or amusement hubs. Even so, this doesn’t mean that you won’t enjoy it if you’re visiting to find worthwhile activities.
Tuscany celebrates fun annual festivals year after year. Examples of the most extravagant ones are the Taste Festival, Lucca Summer Festival, Puccini Festival, and Palio Festival.
2. San Gimignano
This is another town that I recommend including on your list of best places to visit in Europe. San Gimignano is a pristine town just like Lucca. However, it’s more famous due to its iconic medieval-style tower houses. Rough estimates state that at least 2 million people travel to San Gimignano per year.
San Gimignano started as a small etruscan village. Historians attribute the transformation of this Etruscan village into a walled town to Muzio and Silvio, who built two castles from which other buildings emerged.
At present, San Gimignano’s classic beauty remains. Its most iconic characteristic is the three walls having eight gates, which provide contrast to the allure of the tower houses that are visible from a distance.
There’s also a lot of appreciation for the meadow and forest that surround San Gimignano. Outside the town walls, you may take biking or hiking tours. Summer is the best time to experience these. This is because its warm spell makes the vegetation lush and bright.
Wine and dine in San Gimignano is spectacular. Numerous restaurants operate near the walls of the town. While dining, it’s not a bad idea to appreciate the intricate structure of the walls either. If you want a recommendation, I suggest you try Ristorante La Mandragora.
3. Lake Como
Lake Como is one of Europe’s largest lakes by surface area and also one of the best places to travel in Europe. But it’s not famous because of this. As a matter of fact, tourists love Lake Como due to its transcendental beauty that binds anyone who comes to visit.
Providing for the scenic beauty of Lake Como are the groups of cypress trees, laurel trees, and palm trees. These grow on the hills that surround the lake water.
Azaleas, camellias, and rhododendrons cover the banks of Lake Como. Try boating on the Lake every summer, and you’ll see the spectacle of violet, red, pink, and red colors of these flowers.
Lake Como is addictingly scenic. That’s why you should stay here for days or weeks. Don’t worry about accommodation because villas are on the banks for you to rent. To mention, you have the Villa Carlotta, Villa D’Este, Villa Monastero, Villa Serbelloni, and Villa Merzi.
Even if it’s not an all-year-round swimming destination, Lake Como is great if you can’t go to the tropics to spend time at the beach. The Lake has resorts that accommodate your need for water activities.
A trip to Scotland’s capital will make you feel as if you’re in the city of wizards and witches. With its medieval and neoclassical buildings, Edinburgh provides a magical and mysterious vibe. As a first-time visitor, you will feel that something mysterious always stirs nearby.
Here’s a fun fact! If you’re a fan of Harry Potter, go to Edinburgh since it is one of the main sets of the movie. Locations in the movie that you may still find in the city are the Elephant Cafe, George Heriot’s School, Victoria Street, Grassmarket Street, Glenfinnan Viaduct, and Alnwick Castle.
But even if you’re not a Potterhead, Edinburgh is still worth the trip. Edinburgh knows how to host thrilling festivals. Thousands of overseas travelers come to experience the Edinburgh International Festival, Edinburgh Christmas Festival, Fringe Festival, and the Hogmanay Festival, to name a few. This is surely one of the best places in Europe to visit.
5. Isle of Skye
Have you ever dreamt about running off to an unchartered territory where fairies, dragons, and other mystical creatures seem to dwell? If so, Scotland’s Isle of Skye might be one of the best places to visit in Europe that’s in your mind.
Of course, there are no fairies or dragons. Instead, things that enchant the Isle of Skye are green, expansive meadows, strangely shaped rock formations, streams, and pools.
Not to mention, this location in Scotland is famous for the high number of sheep that live within. As a matter of fact, the sheep population exceeds the population of residents. The human population is lower than the sheep population by about 90,000.
Recreational activities in the Isle of Skye include guided tours in the Quiraing and the Storr, swimming at the fairy pools, exploring the Dunvegan Castle and its gardens, viewing the collection at Armadale Castle and Museum, and sightseeing atop the Nest Point Lighthouse.
Dublin will never fail your need for fun. Some of the most attractions that you will enjoy are Dublin Castle, Christ Church Cathedral, National Gallery of Ireland, National Botanic Gardens, and Irish Museum of Modern Art.
Nevertheless, the fun that Dublin isn’t for the eyes and the need for entertainment only. If you’re into literature, you will find Dublin very agreeable.
Dublin is one of the UNESCO cities of literature alongside Quebec, Iowa, Montevideo, and Ljubljana, to name a few. Because of this, Dublin holds annual book festivals that tackle different interesting subjects such as local myths, international issues, and Irish culture.
Plan your visit to Dublin to experience the Dublin Book Festival. At this festival, you will find a lot of Irish books that established and debuting Irish authors wrote. Activities that you might experience are writing workshops, seminars, and book sales. Therefore, don’t forget to include this city in your list of the best places to travel in Europe.
7. Dark Hedges
So, where did the illustrators of Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and Little Red Riding good get information for the menacing forest that gave you nightmares when you were once a kid? Probably, what inspired them is the Dark Hedges of Northern Ireland.
The Dark Hedges refers to an avenue on the northern island that numerous beech trees cover to form an eerie-looking tunnel. The wavy branches, together with the menacing shadows that fall on the trees and on the road itself, make this location popular to photographers.
Dark Hedges didn’t escape pop culture. Game of Thrones once used it as a film set for the scene which depicted Aya Stark’s escape from King’s Landing. For a fact, I can tell you that this is one of the best places in Europe where you can come to enjoy its unique nature and capture photographic memories.
8. Cliffs of Moher
The Cliffs of Moher offers great coastal views of the Atlantic Ocean. I know that other areas in Ireland allow you to see and hear the rumbling of the waves while feeling like you are at the top of the world. So, what makes this location unique? Go to Cliffs of Moher to see its geologic features.
Underneath the cliffs, you will see caves, stumps, and other rock formations. You may access all of these by following the dedicated trails that start from the visitor center then continue on the cliffs.
Aside from its geologic features, 30,000 birds visit the Cliffs of Moher during the mating season. Get your camera ready because seeing puffins and razorbills aren’t rare when visiting this place.
I hope you liked this article about the best places to visit in Europe, and are encouraged to discover this wonderful continent. Bye!