Best Places to Visit in Europe

Ahh, Europe. What American hasn't dreamt of backpacking across it, honeymooning in it or spending an extended holiday immersed in it? There's something quite magical about the continent across the pond, but it can be quite overwhelming to figure out just where you want to go, especially if your time is limited. After careful consideration — on both our part and yours — U.S. News Travel has ranked Europe's best vacation destinations.

Expand Map Expand Map
Belongs on list?
3115 735

Why Go: Barcelona appeals to a wide array of travelers. The fanciful designs of Gaudi's Parc Güell and La Sagrada Família astound observers, while La Seu (the Cathedral of Santa Eulalia) and Montjuïc Castle showcase the city's traditional side. When you tire of architecture, lounge along the beach or sip sangria along Las RamblasRead More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Barcelona

Belongs on list?
3198 744

Why Go: Paris is a no-brainer, really. A picturesque city split by the River Seine, Paris is filled with museums (like the Louvre and the Musée d'Orsay), gardens (like the Tuileries or Luxembourg), monuments (like the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe) and churches (like the Sacré Coeur and Notre Dame). Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Paris

Belongs on list?
2751 254

Why Go: Roma is another 'duh' city on your European tour. The aroma of fresh Italian cooking wafts through alleys; locals stalk the streets wearing couture (Versace, Gucci, Prada); and historic sites surprise you at every turn. And, of course, iconic sites like, the Colosseum and St. Peter's Basilica, are a must for any world traveler. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Rome

Belongs on list?
1709 706

Why Go: Berlin can be likened to the other major cosmopolitan cities, like London and New York. In addition to all its urban charms — buzzing nightlife, fine dining, seriously original fashion and innovative museums — Berlin offers visitors a history lesson (albeit a very somber one) with Holocaust memorials and remnants of the Cold War. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Berlin

Belongs on list?
1482 649

Why Go: Budapest is an intriguing place to visit. Although it's not at the top of many Americans' European to-do list, Budapest's architectural beauty, cheap eats and unique culture merits more consideration. If you need to picture it, just think of Budapest as the backpackers' Vienna; it's fun, young and budget-friendly. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Budapest

Belongs on list?
1388 697

Why Go: One of Lisbon's biggest draws is its affordability. You might pay a hefty sum to get here, but you'll pay far less (relative to other Western European capitals) on accommodations, meals and attractions. Travelers enjoy spotting gothic cathedrals, lounging on the beaches and exploring interesting museums.  Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Lisbon

Belongs on list?
2579 460

Why Go: Exploring a world-class museum like the British Museum, seeing a musical in Leicester Square, touring the Tower of London and gorging on fish 'n' chips at a local pub are all part of a London vacation. However, London's high hotel prices can make bargain-hunters cringe. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in London

Belongs on list?
2021 444

Why Go: Visiting Prague's historical districts is like stepping into a fairy tale. The stunning gothic architecture of the Charles Bridge and Prague Castle appeal to visitors of all ages. Plus, this city's love of music and quaint cafes is contagious. You'll also appreciate Prague's affordability as hotels and attractions cost relatively little to enjoy.  Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Prague

Belongs on list?
1982 442

Why Go: There's much more to this city than just the Red Light District and the notorious coffeeshop culture. Bike rides along the canals are always enjoyable and french fries are a staple of the local diet. Amsterdam also boasts several notable attractions, such as the Anne Frank House and the Van Gogh Museum. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Amsterdam

Belongs on list?
1477 575

Why Go: Visiting Madrid is relatively easy and budget-friendly. Once you're in the city, you'll find plenty of opportunities to experience the local culture. Consider savoring an afternoon in Retiro Park, shopping for souvenirs in the Mercado San Miguel, roaming museums like the Prado and savoring delicious tapasRead More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Madrid

Belongs on list?
1991 326

Why Go: Firenze gives visitors a taste of a more authentic, small-town Italy. Set in gorgeous Tuscany, Florence boasts renowned museums, stunning architecture and mouth-watering cuisine. You can't miss gazing at the Uffizi's art, admiring Michelangelo's David and climbing to the top of the Duomo. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Florence

Belongs on list?
1393 601

Why Go: Istanbul has a split personality: Half of Istanbul rests in Europe, the other half in Asia. Notable sites like the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque bear evidence of the two converging worlds. For a taste of Istanbul's lively culture, spend a few hours hunting for bargains in the Grand Bazaar. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Istanbul

Belongs on list?
1396 178

Why Go: This storied city is best known for its music and monarchs. But that's not all you'll remember after a trip here. While in Vienna, explore the Habsburg's Schonbrunn Palace and stroll the narrow streets of the Inner Stradt. If you're an art-lover, head to the MuseumsQuartier for impressive Andy Warhol pieces on display at the Museum of Modern Art. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Vienna

Belongs on list?
948 451

Why Go: Peter the Great built this city on the unlikely site of a swamp, but Russia's "window to the West" soon became the country's most ambient city. Here, you'll have Tsarist palaces to explore and museums (like the Hermitage) to tour. But a vacation here is hardly cheap; if you're maintaining a budget, consider another Eastern European city, like Riga. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in St. Petersburg

Belongs on list?
868 561

Why Go: Crete is relatively cost-efficient, despite the hassle of getting there (you'll have to take a connecting flight or ferry from Athens). But once you finally arrive, you'll be enchanted by Greece's largest island. Crete abounds with attractions for just about every type of traveler — outdoorsy folks, beach bums, partiers and gourmands. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Crete

Belongs on list?
904 597

Why Go: Copenhagen is known for its canals, castles, gardens, museums and flea markets. And did we mention that this Danish city is home to Hans Christian Andersen's Little Mermaid? This makes for a great vacation for urban adventurers. But unfortunately for budget-minded travelers, this northern European city does not yield cheap prices. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Copenhagen

Belongs on list?
974 250

Why Go: Italy's renowned foodie (and wino) region is full of quaint eateries serving up world-class Italian fare. You can savor Tuscany's rich flavors at charming restaurants in Florence, Siena and Cinque Terre, or head straight to the source on a winery or olive grove tour. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Tuscany

Belongs on list?
1074 600

Why Go: Surrounded by a rugged Scottish landscape, Edinburgh possesses a wealth of attractions. Visitors can stroll the Royal Mile, climb the nearby hills and tour ancient castles. Meanwhile, the city's bed and breakfasts offer travelers an authentic local experience at affordable prices. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Edinburgh

Belongs on list?
443 403

Why Go: This portion of the Croatian coast once stood in the shadow of neighboring Dubrovnik. But no longer: Central Dalmatia serves up history, culture and majestic scenery. Step into Diocletian's Palace and you'll see why the rich and famous have been coming here for centuries. Or if it's sun and sand you seek, head straight for the Pakleni Islands. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Central Dalmatia

Belongs on list?
444 461

Why Go: Many come to Normandy because of its strong ties to World War II, but they stay longer because of the region's stunning cathedrals (like Rouen), delicious cheeses and friendly atmosphere. A visit to the D-Day Beaches and the American Cemetery is a must; however, so is touring Claude Monet's Garden and Mont Saint-Michel. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Normandy

Also Consider for Best Places to Visit in Europe...

Belongs on list?
126 52
Belongs on list?
95 48
Belongs on list?
121 32
Belongs on list?
243 23

in Best Places to Visit in Europe

Check Flights

See best fares from Orbitz, Expedia, Kayak & more!
Round Trip One-Way Non-stop Only
Please enter missing information