The 30 best places to visit in Europe (10-1)

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve counted down 20 of the 30 best places to visit in Europe – and now it’s finally time for the top 10.

That’s right; I’ve milked this for all it’s worth – see the best places to visit in Europe 30-21 and the best places to visit in Europe 20-11. So, without any further ado, here is my top 10 best places to visit in Europe.

Me in Edinburgh, Scotland - next to the famous castle

10. Edinburgh, Scotland

You mightn’t know it to look at its magnificent medieval façade but Edinburgh is a vibrant and exciting city of art, culture and literature. But that’s not to say it’s stuffy; oh no, Edinburgh is a great city for a big night out, too.

Edinburg is an amazing city to visit, especially during one of its many festivals that take place throughout the year. My favourite is the Fringe – the world’s largest arts festival, during which the city is overrun by international comedians (and other kinds of performers).

9. Berlin, Germany

Even more vibrant is the German capital of Berlin – a city that’s survived much adversary and prospered in spite of it. The Berlin Wall (or what’s left of it) isn’t nearly as exciting tourist attraction as you might think; more photogenic is the iconic Brandenburg Gate (pictured below), the Reichstag and the river Spree.

There’s a really great buzz about Berlin. It’s a city I visited once and would dearly like to revisit. Especially on one of those nice sunny days in spring, when you can sit by the river with a lovely German beer (see Springtime for Berlin).

The Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany

8. Florence, Italy

The Statue of David’s home town is a veritable bonanza of culture, art and history – and it’s my favourite city in Italy.

Florence boasts many wonderful restaurants and tourist attractions, yet it’s much easier to navigate than the likes of Rome and Venice. It’s got more going on than fashionable Milan and, let’s just say, Florence is at the opposite end of the spectrum from down-and-dirty Naples.

If you can’t be bothered queuing to see the real Statue of David I recommend you do as I did and go see the replica at the entrance to Palazzo Vecchio, where the original one used to stand.

7. Barcelona, Spain

I was robbed in Spain and still I would go back to Barcelona in a heartbeat. It’s a colourful, exciting city filled with excellent food (I love tapas!) and amazing architecture. It’s just a pity that we lost most of our photos with the theft of my backpack.

Check out these 5 reasons to love Barcelona.

Dubrovnik from its magnificent city walls

6. Dubrovnik, Croatia

Few cities in the world are as photogenic as the Croatian city of Dubrovnik – aptly nicknamed “Pearl of the Adriatic”.

Dubrovnik was one of the highlights of a Croatian sailing trip I went on a number of years ago. It’s a charming old city is surrounded by magnificent medieval walls, which afford visitors an absolutely stunning view of the city and the Adriatic. It’s one of the best cities to visit in the world.

5. Paris, France

That’s right. Coming as the fifth best places to visit in Europe is Paris – the city of love, light and stereotypically unfriendly locals.

Long-time readers of this blog will know that I generally suffer from an aversion to places that are over-hyped (ironically, I’m the one hyping all these places up in a top 30 best places to visit in Europe list!). Paris, however, was every bit as amazing as I thought it would be.

For arguably the best view of Paris, I recommend climbing the Arc de Triomphe.

The Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey

4. Istanbul, Turkey

Is Istanbul in Europe or Asia? It straddles both, which is probably one of the reasons this city is so remarkable.

Cultures collide in Istanbul, a city with historic ties to both Christianity and Islam. It’s one of the oldest cities in the world and it shows. Check out the amazing Blue Mosque, the overwhelming Grand Bazaar and check out the view of the city from the Bosporus.

I’ve professed my love for Istanbul no less than three times now on this blog – check out the best cities to visit: Istanbul.

3. London, England

London has to be at the top of my list of the best places to visit in Europe – after all, it remains the only city on this list that I’ve lived in for anything longer than a couple of weeks.

I was based there from the middle of 2008 until just after the London 2012 Olympic Games and, while I’d be lying if I said I loved every minute of it, London, in my opinion, has to be one of the world’s great cities.

Check out these cheap and cheerful things to do in London and the best London day trips.

The Amalfi Coast, Italy

2. Amalfi Coast, Italy

The Amalfi Coast is an extraordinarily beautiful region in southern Italy, encompassing gorgeous fishing villages and dramatic views of the ocean from the tops of towering cliffs. It’s surely one of the most photogenic places in the world.

My fiancé and I stayed here for about a week, soaking in the sun and beautiful views, exploring medieval townships and gorging on pizza and pasta. Amalfi itself was where we stayed the longest, but Positano, Sorrento and Salerno were arguably as amazing.

On the same trip, we also visited the famed island of Capri – a notoriously expensive and touristy retreat for the rich and famous – and we couldn’t see what all the fuss was about. The Amalfi Coast has a hell of a lot more to offer visitors.

Admiring the view: Santorini, Greece

1. Santorini, Greece

If there is a heaven, I hope that it’s a lot like Santorini in Greece.

An unofficial poll of all my mates who have been to Santorini found they all loved this Greek island paradise as much as I do. And what’s not to love? It boasts amazing sunsets, lovely beaches, good food and picture-postcard views of beautifully white Greek buildings, tottering over dramatic cliffs.

I recommend exploring the Greek island of Santorini by motorbike, stopping in at all of the little towns and beaches, admiring the views as you go. We went on a sunset cruise while we were here, too, which was very romantic. We fell in love with Santorini and can’t wait to go back.

That’s why I think Santorini is the best place to visit in Europe – what’s your favourite place in Europe?

The top 30 places to visit in Europe:

30. Bordeaux, France

29. Munich, Germany

28. Dublin, Ireland

27. Copenhagen, Denmark

26. Oludeniz, Turkey

25. Bruges, Belgium

24. Vienna, Austria

23. Amsterdam, Netherlands

22. Brussels, Belgium

21. Athens, Greece

20. San Sebastian, Spain

19. Rome, Italy

18. Naples, Italy

17. Budapest, Hungary

16. Prague, Czech Republic

15. Venice, Italy

14. Lisbon, Portugal

13. Marseilles, France

12. Gallipoli, Turkey

11. French Riviera, France

10. Edinburgh, Scotland

9. Berlin, Germany

8. Florence, Italy

7. Barcelona, Spain

6. Dubrovnik, Croatia

5. Paris, France

4. Istanbul, Turkey

3. London, England

2. Amalfi Coast, Italy

1. Santorini, Greece

About Simon Petersen 285 Articles
Travel blogger, journalist, sports and movie fiend. Chronicling the life and times of a Kiwi at home and abroad.

8 Comments

  1. Now that we are traveling around Europe this list might come handy. I’ve seen most of these already but there are still some that I need to see, I’ve never been to Greece for instance.

  2. He’ll of a list bit if you ask 30 different people their fave places in Europe you will more than likely get 30 different answers. I’m about to punch out a blog in a few days on my choice for Europe in a week. Slovenia is like a compressed of the entire continent – for those with such time restrictions. Keep em coming.

  3. What a great list. You’ve included some of my all-time favourites in your top 30. Cities like Paris, Munich and Vienna are right up there for me but your number 1 choice is also a winner. Santorini really takes your breath away.

    Personally I prefer smaller villages to busy cities and tend to spend most of my time in Europe in more rural settings but I think you’ve summed up the top 30 for many travellers pretty well.

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