Top 25 Best Destinations in Europe

This is the Top 25 Best Destinations in Europe according to tripadvisor.com

1) London, England

If you want to see London at its most spectacular, go in 2012. In June, the city will celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee with all due pomp and circumstance (including a huge parade and a flotilla of 1,000 boats on the Thames).

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2) Rome, Italy

Rome is one of those cities you could spend a year in and still feel like you’ve barely scratched its surface. Amazing historical sites, mind-blowing art—and then there’s the food. Stop at the Forno in the Campo de’ Fiori for a fresh slice of pizza bianca (cut from a piping hot six-foot-long slab of it), buy some tiny strawberries in a street market, and make it your business to find the city’s best gelato. Someone has to do it.

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3) Paris, France

Everyone wants to see the major sites of Paris—and it’s true, it’d be criminal to leave town without visiting the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, etc. But to truly appreciate this city, you need to get away from the tourist sites. Plunk yourself down at a table in a small café, enjoy a glass of wine and watch le monde go by.

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4) Istanbul, Turkey

The city of Istanbul is a vibrant mix of many cultures, due in part to its location (straddling Europe and Asia across the Bosphorus Strait) and, well, in part to its history of getting conquered. The Hagia Sophia, for example, was a church, then a mosque and is now a museum. You’ll spot Greek, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman architecture around town.

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5) Barcelona, Spain

Architecture buffs should make a beeline for Barcelona. The medieval and Roman buildings in the Gothic Quarter (Barri Gotic) provide quite a contrast to Antoni Gaudi’s fanciful architecture, which you’ll find all around the city. A visit to his still-unfinished Church of the Sacred Family (Templo Expiatorio de la Sagrada Familia) is a must.

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6) Berlin, Germany

Berlin is a multi-faceted city. So feast your eyes on modern architecture, then visit a Baroque palace. Spend the day at one of the world’s finest zoos, then spend the evening listening to one of the world’s finest orchestras. Most travelers make a point of taking in more serious WWII-related sights as well. TripAdvisor travelers give particularly high marks to the grim but thorough and thought-provoking Topography of Terror exhibit.

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7) Florence, Italy

Everyone’s heard the Doors of Paradise, the Duomo, and Michelangelo’s David are captivating, but in Florence, beauty can sneak up on a traveler unexpectedly. You’ll duck into a random church to escape the heat only to spend two hours staring at an impossibly pure blue in a fresco. Or you’ll consider writing a sonnet about pear gelato. It’s just that kind of place. Don’t miss the sunset over the Arno and the famous wines of the Chianti region just south of town.

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8) Prague, Czech Republic

We hear the question, “What’s the next Prague?” a lot. But while we’re all for discovering great new destinations, we hardly think Prague is over. Sure, everyone’s heard of it, but it’s still a grand city with extraordinary historic and cultural sights, and it’s definitely worth a visit. The often-rebuilt Prague Castle has overlooked the city since the 9th century, and the synagogues and cemetery of the Jewish Quarter are must-sees. Nightlife here is diverse and plentiful, from trendy clubs to sophisticated wine bars to late-night cellar bars.

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9) Dublin, Ireland

It’s easy to love Dublin. Where else can you legitimately learn about local history and culture by visiting multiple pubs? (Side note: you can’t say you hate Guinness until you’ve had it in Dublin. It’s different. And it’s fantastic.) Leave time for a stroll along the Liffey, a peek at the Book of Kells and, on a more serious note, a visit to the Kilmainham Gaol Historical Museum.

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10) Amsterdam, Netherlands

This city, full of colorful homes, canals and bridges, is one of Europe’s most picturesque capitals. Must-sees on any visitor’s itinerary include the Anne Frank House, the Van Gogh Museum and the Flower Market. Looking for an unusual place to stay? Try renting a houseboat. Of note to travelers: Laws prohibiting Amsterdam coffeehouses from selling marijuana to foreigners go into effect on January 1, 2013.

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11) Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon can be summed up in one word: variety. From the 12th-century Se cathedral to the modern bridges spanning the Tagus River, from the 18th-century Aguas Livres aqueduct to the futuristic Oriental Station, Lisbon traverses the ages. The city’s many neighborhoods include Moorish Alfama, home of the city’s tallest hill, and 17th-century Bairro Alto, with its hopping nightlife. Museums, castles, open-air markets, funiculars, Fado music – Lisbon’s pleasures include these and much more.

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12) Venice, Italy

Stunning architecture. Mysterious passageways. And of course, the canals. Venice is one of the most alluring cities in the world—the type of place where, as a visitor, you’ll welcome getting lost (as you inevitably will). Relax in Piazza San Marco, take a moonlit gondola ride or taste the original Bellini at Harry’s Bar. Or just wander. No matter where you go, you’ll find history, beauty and romance.

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13) Edinburgh, United Kingdom

While dramatic windswept hills make Edinburgh a site to behold, its rich history makes it a city to remember. From the world-famous Edinburgh Castle, to St. Giles Cathedral, to Real Mary King’s Close and the Museum of Scotland, the sites are plentiful. Visit Edinburgh during Hogmanay (a days-long Scottish new year celebration full of food, drink and local traditions) and you’ll be one of 80,000 revelers in the city! And yes, you must try the traditional fruitcake.

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14) Madrid, Spain

Strolling through Madrid is a great way to see the lavish Royal Palace, the 16th-century Puerta del Sol (Sun’s Gate) marking the center of Spain, the old Moorish quarter of Moreria and much more. Art enthusiasts flock to the famous Prado, Thyssen-Bornemisza and Reina Sofia museums. Families enjoy boating in Retiro Park and visiting the zoo and the amusement park in Casa de Campo. After eating paella and tapas and watching flamenco, night owls can dance at clubs that are open until dawn.

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15) St. Petersburg, Russia

It’s hard to believe a city boasting so much great art and architecture is “only” 309 years old. (To put this in perspective, Newark, N.J., has been around a few decades longer than Saint Petersburg.) Towering cathedrals and ornate palaces fill Saint Petersburg, and the State Hermitage Museum, located in the Winter Palace, houses some of the world’s greatest works of art.

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16) Budapest, Hungary

Over 15 million gallons of water bubble daily into Budapest’s 118 springs and boreholes. The city of spas offers an astounding array of baths, from the sparkling Gellert Baths to the vast 1913 neo-baroque Szechenyi Spa to Rudas Spa, a dramatic 16th-century Turkish pool with original Ottoman architecture. The “Queen of the Danube” is also steeped in history, culture and natural beauty. Get your camera ready for the Roman ruins of the Aquincum Museum, Heroes’ Square and Statue Park, and the 300-foot dome of St. Stephen’s Basilica.

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17) Vienna, Austria

If you currently think your neighborhood coffee shop is nice, you might want to stay out of Vienna’s coffeehouses. After you’ve gotten used to these palatial, yet welcoming cafes—and their delicious coffee and Sacher torte—your local café will pale in comparison. Between coffee breaks, visitors can explore Vienna’s Schonbrunn Palace and Imperial Palace. And if you have a chance, catch a performance at the State Opera House—it’s not to be missed.

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18) Munich, Germany

Munich was almost completely destroyed in two world wars, yet it’s managed to recreate much of its folkloric, Bavarian past. Oktoberfest is legendary, but you can visit the Hofbrauhaus any time of year for an immense beer. Olympiapark, the site of the 1972 games, is not to be missed (you can skate on the Olympic ice rink and swim in the pool). On a somber note, take time to visit the concentration camp at Dachau—it’s an intense, yet unforgettable, glimpse into the not-too-distant horrors of the Holocaust.

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19) Santorini, Greece

Black-sand beaches. Whitewashed buildings perched cliffside above an impossibly blue sea. Santorini is so beautiful we’re having trouble finding words to describe it. Just look at a picture—we bet you’ll want to catch the next flight.

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20) Sorrento, Italy

Land of Mermaids. Land of Orange and Lemon Groves. Land of Colors. This small city in Campania has earned a plethora of alluring names. Famed for its sea cliffs, the town’s steep slopes look out over azure waters to Ischia, Capri and the Bay of Naples. The birthplace of Limoncello liqueur offers some good diving, great sea fishing, boat cruises and appetizing restaurants. Excellent hiking trails cross the peninsula. Rent a car or take a taxi if the steep streets look too intimidating.

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21) Krakow, Poland

For a medieval city that also survived World War II, Krakow is remarkably well preserved, making it a great destination for travelers interested in history or architecture. TripAdvisor travelers recommend exploring the charming small streets of Krakow’s Historic Centre (a World Heritage Site) and visiting the Main Market Square (Rynek Glowny), one of the largest town squares in Europe.

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22) Zermatt, Switzerland

When most people think of Zermatt, they think of one thing: The Matterhorn. This ultimate Swiss icon looms over Zermatt, first drawing visitors here in the 1860s. The village of Zermatt itself is lovely and car-free, with old-fashioned brown chalets and winding alleys. (Don’t worry, you don’t have to walk everywhere—there are electric vehicles and horse-drawn cabs.) Skiing in the region often lasts through early summer, but when the weather’s warmer, it’s a great time to hike.

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23) Taormina, Italy

Volcanic Mount Etna and the Ionian Sea provide the cinema-worthy backdrop for Taormina, Sicily’s legendary resort town. Twisting medieval streets and a second-century Greek theater add to its romantic air, which inspired the writings of D.H. Lawrence and Truman Capote. Take a cable car to the beach, or walk uphill behind the Church of St. Joseph for panoramic views.

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24) Positano, Italy

Once a vital part of a mighty sea power, Positano is today a sophisticated resort on the central Amalfi Coast. Moorish-style architecture rises up steep slopes that gaze out on the Sirenuse Islands. Smart boutiques, selling fashions for visitors to display on Grand Beach, abound in the village. And it’s a great base for exploring the area—you can easily travel by boat to Capri, Ischia and the Grotta dello Smeraldo cave.

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25) Palermo, Italy

To the first-time visitor, Palermo is a city of ever-changing character. An abundance of dusty museums, Arabian domes and flourishes of baroque splendor jostle with boisterous markets, chaotic traffic and oppressive summer heat. The Sicilian hotspot is a noisy, polluted, often dangerous, but always fascinating city. Don’t miss marvels of Arab-Norman architecture, such as 12th-century Palazzo dei Normanni or San Giovanni degli Eremiti. Ask your hotel to arrange cabs and negotiate fares before setting off.

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6 thoughts on “Top 25 Best Destinations in Europe

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