Where To Go in Europe

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by Santorini Dave • Updated: June 15, 2019

The Best Places To Go in Europe

  • My favorite countries to visit in Europe are Greece and Italy.
  • My favorite cities in Europe are Paris and Florence.
  • The best destinations for a honeymoon in Europe are Santorini and the magical cave hotels in Matera.
  • Europe with Kids: My favorite destinations are London with kids, Paris with kids, Barcelona with kids, Amsterdam with kids, Rome with kids, and Naxos with kids.
  • Top Tip for Visiting Europe: Arrive and depart from different cities to save the time, hassle, and expense of retracing your steps to catch your return flight. For example, fly into London, train to Paris, fly home (direct) from Paris.
  • Best Time To Visit Europe: July and August are busy everywhere in Europe. June and September have great weather and any beach on the Mediterranean is still wonderful. For outdoor sightseeing April, May, October, and early November are pleasant in most of Europe.
  • If you’re a museum lover then January and February see wonderfully short lines at the top attractions in London, Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, Barcelona, Florence, and Rome. The weather can be miserable but these big cities have lots to see indoors.
  • The most magical things to do in Europe are island hopping in the Greek Islands and staying at an Agriturismo in Tuscany.

The 15 Best Places to Visit in Europe

1. Paris, France

Places in Europe: Best Europe city for bike tours.
Paris has it all, which is why it’s as close to a must-see as there is in Europe. Food, history, art, culture, and beauty around every corner. A highlight for me is doing a bike tour around the city. Paris Travel GuideBest Paris HotelsBest Paris Family HotelsBest Time To Visit Paris • Paris with KidsBest Restaurants in ParisBest Things To Do in ParisWhere To Stay in Paris

2. Florence, Italy

Places in Europe: Best city for foodies and cooking classes in Europe.
There are so many places to go in Italy, but Florence is so special you really can’t miss it. The art and history are obvious perks but doing food tours and cooking classes are also favorites of mine. And Florence makes a great base for exploring the treasures of Tuscany. Florence Travel GuideBest Florence HotelsBest Florence Family HotelsBest Time To Visit Italy

3. Santorini, Greece

Places in Europe: Most romantic place in Europe for honeymoon.
The single best holiday destination in Europe (but I might be biased). The caldera views are as incredible as anything you’ll see anywhere. Sunsets, hikes, boat tours, local wines, black volcanic beaches, and the most luxurious hotels along the Mediterranean. Please, don’t miss Santorini. Santorini Travel GuideBest Santorini HotelsBest Santorini Family HotelsBest Time To Visit Santorini • Santorini with Kids • Santorini with KidsBest Restaurants in SantoriniBest Things To Do in SantoriniWhere To Stay in Santorini

4. Amsterdam, Netherlands

Places in Europe: Best boat tours and canals in Europe.
One of my absolute favorite cities in Europe. A wonderful city center that’s as pedestrian and bike friendly as you’ll find. Loaded with fun cafes, restaurants, great museums, and leafy parks. Perhaps more than any European city Amsterdam is a place you’ll want to live in after your first day. Best Amsterdam HotelsBest Amsterdam Family HotelsBest Time To Visit Amsterdam • Amsterdam with Kids

5. London, England

Best city in Europe for shopping.Everyone knows London is filled to bursting with world-class sights and museums. What might be surprising is all the great untouristy markets, shops, neighborhoods, cafes, and restaurants. Be sure to get away from the most popular attractions and seek out local London. Best London HotelsBest London Family HotelsBest Time To Visit London • London with KidsBest Things To Do in LondonWhere To Stay in London

6. Barcelona, Spain

Places in Europe: Best markets in Europe.
My favorite city in Spain. Packed with great food, lively nightlife, art, architecture, and eye popping sightseeing. A great holiday destination for families too. Best Barcelona HotelsBest Barcelona Family HotelsBest Time To Visit Barcelona • Barcelona with KidsBest Restaurants in BarcelonaBest Things To Do in BarcelonaWhere To Stay in Barcelona

7. Rome, Italy

Places in Europe: Best pizza and pasta in Europe.
The Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Roman Forum, Pantheon, Spanish Steps, Sistine Chapel, and Vatican. Rome is packed with some of Europe’s top attractions. Then throw in the food, shops, cafes, and funky neighborhoods. Anything less than 5 days in Rome and you’ll feel cheated. Rome Travel GuideBest Rome HotelsBest Rome Family HotelsBest Time To Visit Rome • Rome with KidsBest Things To Do in RomeWhere To Stay in Rome

8. Reykjavik, Iceland

Places in Europe: Best small capital city in Europe.
Reykjavik is the cool capital of Europe. Great nightlife, cafes, and restaurants. The Blue Lagoon, whale tours, and mesmerizing scenery are all easy day trips. Best Reykjavik HotelsBest Rekyjavik Family HotelsBest Time To Visit Iceland

9. Edinburgh, Scotland

Places in Europe: European city near castles and history.
An awesome mix of castles, history, stunning scenery, and modern Scottish life, Edinburgh is one of the must visit cities of the U.K. Best Edinburgh Family Hotels • Edinburgh with Kids

10. Prague, Czech Republic

Places in Europe: Best historical city to visit in Europe.
As close to an idyllic European city as there is. Prague is a favorite of almost anyone who visits. Loads to see and do here – and the beer is pretty darn good too. Best Prague HotelsBest Prague Family Hotels

11. Galway, Ireland

Places in Europe: Best small city in Europe.
Dublin has become a thriving international city where it can be hard to find the Irish culture you came here to experience. In Galway you really feel like you’re in Ireland. The town itself has a wonderful vibe and there’s tons to see within a 90-minute drive. Galway Family Hotels

12. Nice, France

Places in Europe: Best beach city on Mediterranean in Europe.
A fantastic base for exploring South France and a wonderful mid-sized town in its own right. Easy train connections to Monaco, Cannes, Lyon, and many great beaches along the Mediterranean coast. Best Nice Family Hotels

13. Istanbul, Turkey

Places in Europe: Most interesting place to go in Europe.
People come for the monumental historical sights but leave in awe of the markets, street culture, neighborhoods, and incredible Turkish cuisine. Best Istanbul HotelsBest Istanbul Family HotelsBest Time To Visit Istanbul

14. Naxos, Greece

Places in Europe: Best beaches in Europe.
The best beaches in Greece and maybe all of Europe. But it’s not just sea, sun, and sand. The Chora (main town) is as charming as any Greek town and the interior of the island is dotted with enchanting villages and stunning hikes. Best Naxos HotelsBest Naxos Family HotelsBest Time To Visit Greece

15. Agriturismo Farm Stay in Italy

Agriturismo Rentals in Tuscany
This is one of the funnest, most interesting things to do in Europe. Stay at a working farm in Italy (mostly Tuscany, but Umbria is also popular). Great for everyone from families (those are my two boys playing in the pool) to honeymooners. Stays will usually include 2 to 3 meals per day. Some farms have cooking classes, horse riding, or wine-related activities. Agriturismo in TuscanyAgriturismo in Umbria

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Top Travel Sites for Europe – My Recommendations

Travel Planning for Europe.

Best For Flights: Kayak.comSkyscannerMomondo

Kayak is the easiest to use. Skyscanner finds the cheapest rates. Momondo is the best for first and business class tickets.

Best For Renting A Car: Rentalcars.com

Great prices from all the biggest rental companies. Easy to use, safe, and reliable.

Best For Hotels: Booking.com

Awesome rates and great for vacation planning. All price ranges. Luxury hotels, 5-star boutiques, cheap hostels, house and apartment rentals.

Best For Tours: GetYourGuide.com

My favorite for booking tours and private tour guides.

Best for Travel Insurance: InsureMyTrip

Compare costs from over 30 insurance providers.

Free Travel Guides

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Coming soon: Paris, Santorini, Mykonos, London, Rome, Florence, Venice, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Istanbul, Dubai, Singapore, Bali, Bangkok, Koh Samui, Phuket, Hong Kong, Kyoto, Tokyo, NYC, Las Vegas, Hawaii, Cancun, Tulum

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12 Questions and Comments

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  1. AvatarBest Places in Europe To Go for a Short Visit

    Hi Dave, I’m planning a trip to Germany for this coming October but would like to spend a few days (2 to 3 days) in another city or country at the end of the trip before returning to the US. What would your top suggestions be for places to visit if you only have a few days?

    Thanks!

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Paris would be right at the top of my list. Amsterdam, London, Florence, and Barcelona are all wonderful too (and many more). Take a look at flights and connections to see what works best for your itinerary and use that as a tie-breaker.

  2. AvatarThe Best Cities To Visit In Europe

    What are the best cities to visit in Europe for a first-time solo female traveler?

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      For all first-time visitors to Europe top cities would be Paris, Florence, London, Amsterdam, Rome, and Barcelona. I’d recommend visiting at least one smaller place to get a more local feel of European life. Good suggestions include Galway, Perugia, Utrecht, and Seville – although the list of quality places is very very long.

  3. AvatarSouthern Europe in April and May

    Hi Dave. Do you think it would be too cold to go Greek Island hopping in April/May? And how many nights per island do you think would be required?

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      April is too cold for swimming. Early May can start to have some warm/hot days when swimming is possible though the water will still be cool. But if by island hopping you mean sightseeing and exploring the islands then late April and early May are wonderful on the Greek islands. The weather is great, crowds are smaller, and costs are cheaper.

  4. AvatarBest Beaches in Europe

    We are looking for a beach holiday destination for September. We want good weather and wonderful beaches. Good food and a fun atmosphere (but not big parties) are also important. Where would you suggest?

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      The Greek islands have the best beaches in Europe. If you want to ferry hop around several islands then the Cyclades (Naxos, Paros, Mykonos, Santorini, and several more) are best. If you only want one island (with great beaches) then go with Naxos, Mykonos, Crete, or Rhodes – or smaller islands like Ios, Sifnos, Antiparos, or Ikaria.

  5. AvatarBest Places in Netherlands / Overnight Bike Trips from Amsterdam

    We have a week to spend in Amsterdam as part of our honeymoon. We plan on 3 or 4 days in Amsterdam but would like to do an overnight bike trip outside of Amsterdam – probably two days but could also do a three day trip if needed. We’re in decent shape (can easily walk 5 to 10 miles in a day) but are only on a bike a few times a year. What bike trips would you recommend outside of Amsterdam?

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      My two favorite bike trips from Amsterdam are:

      Amsterdam to Edam – Start by taking the free ferry from the train station across the canal to North Amsterdam. From there it’s a 90 minute ride to Edam (be sure to ride through the small town of Broek in Waterland.) Stay at the Hotel and Restaurant de Fortuna (idyllic location on a small canal, plenty of bike parking) in the center of this charming town. The restaurant at the hotel is fantastic. The next morning catch the ferry from Volendam to Marken and then return to Amsterdam along the sea coast.

      Amsterdam to Utrecht – This ride is a bit longer (about 2.5 to 3 hours, one way). If you put Amsterdam to Utrecht into Google Maps you’ll get two different bike routes (mostly on opposite sides of the canal but departing a bit more close to Amsterdam), take one route to Utrecht and the opposite route back as they feel very different (but both wonderful rides). Utrecht is a medium-sized college town with nightlife, local attractions, and lots of restaurants along the main canal. Stay at the Grand Hotel Karel V (center of town, plenty of bike parking) which is fabulous.

      Both of these rides are wonderful and highly recommended.

  6. AvatarBest Way To Get From London to Paris to Rome

    Traveling from London to Paris and then Rome. What is the best, easiest, fastest way to get between the 3 cities – fly, train, or car rental?

    Sam

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      From London to Paris take the Eurostar. From Paris to Rome get a cheap flight – probably with Ryanair or Easy Jet.