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Not for nothing does Europe corner half of the global travel market. Seven of the world’s top ten destinations are found on here, with countless other popular stops on a well-trodden path through the continent. The lights of Paris, the ancient wonders of Rome, the engrossing culture of Spain, and the captivating, underappreciated microstates of Liechtenstein and Andorra are just a small taste of the long list of places to go.

If there’s one constant that unifies Europe, it would have to be diversity. Topographically, socially, and historically, there are many points on the continent that couldn’t be more distinct from one another. Depending on where you go, you’ll experience a breadth of faiths, languages, cuisines, and lifestyles that can be tough to reconcile with the (relatively) modest square footage. All this means is that Europe is truly an endless array of surprises waiting to happen and of new experiences waiting to be enjoyed. With open borders and well-established infrastructure, traveling around is enough of a breeze as to be a pleasure.

It has been almost two centuries since young men of genteel birth set sail for the Grand Tours of yore, but Europe’s sheer range of fascinations continue to beckon (and overwhelm!) travelers today. Whether you set out to thoroughly explore a single destination or sample many sites on your own Continental journey, it’s a guarantee that the history, beauty, and amazement of Europe will live in your heart forever.

Europe Top Sights

Paris, France

Gorgeous and immensely cultured, the City of Lights proudly stakes its claim as one of Earth’s most prominent travel destinations. Paris’ fame draws on attractions with household name recognition, but within the city exists a gorgeous, fascinating world beyond the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower. One could have the vacation of a lifetime simply wandering from cafe to cafe and watching life go by. Of course, you won’t do that: the lure of the Notre Dame, the Moulin Rouge, and the Champs-Élysées are, combined, too great. Just know that there is more to Paris than a single visit can contain, and possibly more wonder here than one heart can hold.

London, UK

London has been called “the whole world in one city,” a sprawling cosmopolis of thirty-two boroughs. It is absolutely loaded with iconic sights. There’s the mammoth Eye of London, situated on the banks of the Thames, the grandeur of Buckingham Palace, the music of the West End, the museums of Chelsea… the list goes on and on. You can throw down a pint (or a few!) with the locals at the pub whilst taking in a football match or sip tea as daintily as Elizabeth II. Actually, why not both? This vibrant, vital city truly encompasses the best of all worlds.

Barcelona, Spain

The city that Gaudí built is fascinating, beautiful, and imbued with and undeniably mystic spirit. The home of the world’s most authentic flamenco will leave you drunk on music and wandering happily down Las Ramblas with a kick in your step! The beaches of Barcelona are (deservedly) world-famous and gorgeous. Stroll the boardwalk hand-in-hand with your loved one, or drowse beneath the sun on the sand to the lulling melody of the ocean. Barcelona is an exceptional destination for kicking back with some sangria and soaking in the sights and sounds of life, inviting one to stay a bit and leave one’s heart forever in its thrall.

Rome, Italy

History is a grand, living thing in the Italian capital city. Italy contains more UNESCO World Heritage Sites than any other country in the world, and many of them are right here in Roma. Rome has been a center of cultural, political, and spiritual power for some three thousand years, and the marks of many famous footsteps linger on her streets today. From the elegant decay of the Pantheon to the soul-stirring glory of the Sistine Chapel, the beauty of the Seven Hills to the curiosities of the Vatican Museum, you won’t soon tire of Rome’s magnificence.

Amsterdam, Netherlands

The canals of Amsterdam have led to some calling this the “Venice of the North.” For history, charm, and beauty, however, Amsterdam indubitably holds its own. Sights not to miss include the organized riot of colors at the Flower Market, the windmills, the old wooden houses, and the lit bridges of the Old City at nighttime. The Anne Frank and Van Gogh museums should be counted as can’t-miss attractions, along with splitting a bottle of great wine in the Vondelpark with family or friends. And, of course, no visit is complete without a cruise of the canals.

Europe

Europe Travel Reviews


All Roads Lead to Rome

Daniel Jackson

"All Roads Lead to Rome." As you approach Rome from Leonardo da Vinci International Airport, you are instantly immersed in a city with ancient history surrounded by a bustling and modern metropolitan. Rome is a city of ancient structures, statues, cobblestone streets, nightlife and world-class dining options.

Ancient Rome

As I wandered around the city, I was amazed by the number of statues, fountains and 2,000 year-old structures that dot the city. The Coliseum was absolutely breathtaking and it was difficult to believe gladiators used to battle in this arena. Vatican City and St. Peter's Basilica had more of a spiritual feel than religious. Parts of the old aqueduct still stand around the city with roads weaving around their columns at the base.

Nightlife

Being that Rome is such an international city, the nightlife is outstanding. I spent time in many discos and found an interesting mix of international travelers and locals intermingling to European Electronic Dance Music and American songs. The locals are friendly and happy to meet Americans as most are immersed in our culture.

Dining Options

I love Italian food and, of course, this is the Mecca. I ate at many ma and pa restaurants that may only have enough seating for 10. You can find the best food when wandering down a narrow street and find a hole-in-the-wall. Just watch out for scooters because they are everywhere in this city! No trip to Rome is complete without sample local gelato. It is absolutely fantastic and stop by one of many locations around the city.

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Destinations Visited: Italy

Road Trip Through the Alpine Regions of Germany, Austria, and Italy

Anonymous

On a whim, a high school friend and I traded frequent flier miles for flights to Frankfurt. We were anxious to see the Alpine regions of Southern Germany, Western Austria, and Northern Italy, so we booked return flights from Munich. We had a rental car, but no itinerary--just twelve days to fill with flip-of-the-coin freedom. Armed with a good road map and a bit of courage, we hit the Autobahn. After a quick pit stop to check out the lush gardens and spas of Baden-Baden and a jaunt to France for a scenic boat ride through the canals of Strasbourg, we settled into a quaint inn outside of Offenburg. Over the next two days, we meandered through the Black Forest, bought carvings and enjoyed a glorious sunset at an outdoor cafe along Lake Constance. In the tiny German town of Fussen, we toured the famous, Disney-like castle of Neuschwanstein and hiked trails frequented by Bavarian royalty. The five days in the Italian cycling mecca of Bormio, however, were the highlight of the trip. The town attracts world-class cyclists, but bikes and extreme fitness are not required to enjoy the fantastic scenery, great food and local wine. We hiked and relaxed in Alpine meadows, and bravely sampled a few short bike routes before heading through the famed Brenner Pass on the way to Munich.

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Destinations Visited: Germany, Austria, Italy

More than a Brief Stop in Budapest

sendhome

One of my more memorable journeys was a trip visiting various churches between Romania, Hungary and Poland. This was in the early days after the dissolution of the Soviet Union and there was a lot of excitement about the change in the air. We had initially planned on a one-night stop in Budapest, with accommodations at the Hilton Budapest. However, our itinerary was changed, and I was able to more fully experience this wonderful city during a two-day stay. Our vista of the Danube River (along with the Parliament building) allowed a number of great photographs, and we found two very good restaurants in the area – we especially liked the Costes Restaurant. It was a bit pricey, but the European elegance and special tasting menu made it worthwhile. One of the best things about this location in Castle Hills is the namesake castle and historic structures. The walking tour was one of the best, taking us by the Buda Castle and the Hungarian National Gallery. Although this was the less touristy area of the city, it reeked of history and times of majesty, creating a very enjoyable experience. Instead of just riding through the city as we had planned, this turned out to be a real highlight and provided some great memories. This stop also provides a great contrast between this urban setting and the many fields and forests we passed though on our ride on the two railroads we took. Looking forward to a return trip where we can see more of the homes of royalty in the countryside. While the overall trip was 4-stars, this stop in Budapest is a definite 5-star interlude.

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Destinations Visited: Hungary

City of Light and Charm

Lisa

Having traveled a great deal, I have come to expect that most large cities will inevitably be primarily dingy and gray, with the occasional bright spot near the more touristy areas. That said, I was delighted to find that Helsinki, Finland far surpassed my expectations.

Unrelentingly bright and colorful, Helsinki charmed me completely. The delightful Esplanade that borders the Baltic is the place to go if you want to sample an array of traditional Finnish foods, each one more delicious than the next. Stroll through the market past smiling shopkeepers selling handmade goods and souvenirs from knit hats to jewelry. Arguably the best view of the city can be found at the top of the ferris wheel.

If you enjoy visiting churches, Helsinki has at least two that warrant your attention. The Helsinki Lutheran Cathedral with its striking green domes could easily be considered a symbol of the city. It stands in the large, open Senate Square. The Rock Church (Temppeliaukio Kirkko) is unlike any church you've ever visited. While the outside seems quite ordinary, the inside will leave you awestruck. It was carved from solid rock and the walls have been left bare and rough. The acoustics are wonderful and the church is a popular concert venue.

Of all the worthwhile museum attractions available in Helsinki, the one that I would recommend visiting first if you were pressed for time would definitely be Suomenlinna. You can catch the ferry at the Esplanade terminal and be there in twenty minutes. The island itself as well as Sveaborg (Swedish Castle) is a UNESCO world heritage sight. There is a museum, a park and an arts venue on the island that are open to the public most of the year.

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Destinations Visited: Finland

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