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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.

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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

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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»

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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