When I studied in the States, people constantly told me that they really wanted to travel to Europe. When I asked them to tell me the specific European cities they wanted to visit, I’d always get the same response: ”Oh I don’t know… Paris… London… Italy… [insert list of generic, romanticized countries or cities].”
I get it: Thanks to books and movies, certain European cities have quite a reputation across the pond. However, Europe is huge! In fact, each country has so many amazing cities to see that planning to travel through even just one European country in a single trip is an expensive, logistical nightmare.
Since I’ve lived in England pretty much my entire life, here is my ultimate guide to Europe with the 10 cities you must see if you make the trip across the pond.
Maybe I’m biased, but London is one of my favourite cities. Not only is it one of the most beautiful cities to walk around, but you’ll also find so much to do there! Historical sites, adorable cafes, huge tourist hot spots, walking tours, the West End, shopping… London literally has something for everyone!
Rome is incredible! For starters, you eat real Italian pasta and pizza (Yeah, none of that New York stuff). Then, you can see the Vatican and it’s amazing artwork and enjoy the rich history of the Roman coliseums.
OK, so Paris is probably already on your bucket list, but even Europeans include the city on their list of must-see destinations (for good reason). After all, Paris is beautiful and romantic!, When you travel to Paris, visit the Eiffel tower (which is a great spot for selfies by the way), eat French pastries, and hit up Disneyland Paris.
Saltzburg is a lesser- known city, but any Sound of Music fan will remain in awe. Since they filmed the classic movie in the city, you can tour the Von Trapp house and the spots where they filmed the musical sequence Do Re Mi. Saltzburg is also Mozart’s birthplace and is one of the most adorable cities to tour. If you visit Saltzburg, stay in a nearby German town and ride the rails into Austria for the day because Saltzburg is a super small, expensive city to visit.
In my opinion, Prague is highly underrated. It’s beautiful, and the typical European buildings make great shots for the ‘gram. What’s more, its astronomical clock looks like something out of a Disney movie. You can also climb to the top of the city and enjoy a gorgeous birds-eye view. Oh, and it’s super cheap, so it’s a great stop if you want to save a little money on your trip.
If you’re a huge fan of the Kardashians, you’ve probably seen the episode where they visit Santorini, Greece. Santorini’s stereotypically Greek architecture makes for beautiful views of white buildings and blue roofs. Santorini’s beachy vibe also makes it the ultimate relaxation spot in the middle of your busy European adventure.
Venice is a must-see city to see now, because it may end up underwater in the future. The city’s tiny streets and romantic canals make it the perfect city for romance. In addition to the beautiful canals and rich history, they also have some seriously great gelato.
Budapest is another super underrated city. I added it onto my interrailing trip because I heard about its thermal baths and beautiful parliament building. However, I had no idea just how spectacular this city really was until I saw it. In fact, I actually wish I spent more time there so I could fully enjoy the stunning views and tourist sites. If you go to Budapest, though, definitely check out the parliament building because it’s glorious.
Lisbon is one of my favourite places. Although not many people check it out, I think it’s beautiful. I went with a native, so I actually had a personal tour guide! Honestly, though, the multi-coloured houses, cobbled streets, and spectacular views from the top of the castle make for the perfect little getaway. Since Lisbon also serves amazing coffee, it’s a must-visit city for coffee-lovers.
To be honest, I’m a history nerd who learned everything there is to know about World War II t. Therefore, I found visiting this city where Hitler started his campaigns to be an eye-opening experience. But, if you’re not into history, Munich has great beer! Also, the Augustiner bierkeller has a great atmosphere, sells beer by the litre, and is just a great place to tour.
There you have it, the ultimate European tour! These cities are perfect for a couple of days so you can see the most of Europe while you’re over here. So, pack your bags and get planning!
Photo by Lauren Bullen