The 30 best places to visit in Europe (30-21)

What are the best places to visit in Europe? It’s a question that I get asked all the time and have never had the audacity to answer – until now.

Over the next three blog posts I’m going to attempt to condense all my travels in Europe into one list of the 30 best places to visit in Europe – including my favourite cities, towns and regions of continental Europe.

What European cities will make the top 10? Will these blog posts be met with a virtual shit-storm of hate mail, abuse and derision? All these questions and more will be answered shortly…

Bordeaux, France, in the summer sunshine

30. Bordeaux, France

Let’s raise a glass to Bordeaux – the first on my list of the best places to visit in Europe and the one with the best wine.

Like a petit version of Paris, Bordeaux in south-western France is a very artistic, vibrant city with a relaxed and easy-going charm. The wine is excellent, of course, and I recommend hiring a bicycle and taking a ride along the Garonne River (although those two activities probably shouldn’t mix).

29. Munich, Germany

Confession: I never made it to Oktoberfest. If I had, I’d imagine the German city of Munich would rank higher on my list of favourite places in Europe.

Munich is a very attractive city, with stunning German architecture and historic buildings. What I remember it most fondly for, however, is its amazing beer halls and beer gardens – complete with stein-carrying beer wenches and oompah bands.

Me drinking a stein in Munich, Germany

28. Dublin, Ireland

Okay, so you’re probably thinking I’m an alcoholic right about now – but I promise it’s just a coincidence that the first three entries in this list also happen to be some of the best cities for booze in Europe.

Admittedly, when I wasn’t visiting the Guinness factory or drinking pints of the black stuff at The Church or Temple Bar I probably wasn’t doing a lot in Dublin. I still think it’s grand, though.

27. Copenhagen, Denmark

I didn’t have the best time in Copenhagen – I saw a rock with no mermaid on it and the city’s Tivoli amusement park was closed for winter.

Still, there was enough to do in the Danish capital to keep me entertained, including walking along Copenhagen’s picturesque Nyhavn waterfront and climbing Rundetaarn, a round tower with an observation deck at the top.

Oludeniz from the air in Turkey

26. Oludeniz, Turkey

I’m a sucker for a pretty beach – and Oludeniz (above) in Turkey is allegedly the most photographed beach on the Mediterranean. You can see why.

Oludeniz – or the “Blue Lagoon” – is a small village and beach resort in Fethiye, south-west Turkey. The lagoon itself is a nature reserve and the beach is often rated one of the best in the world. It’s a great place for paragliding, too, although I opted to stay on terra firma while my fiancé went soaring without me.

25. Bruges, Belgium

Very different but no less picturesque is the Belgian city of Bruges, a canal-based town that is as pretty as Venice or Amsterdam. Have you seen the movie In Bruges? It’s required viewing for anyone thinking of heading here and makes me love the place even more.

At a Christmas market in Vienna, Austria

24. Vienna, Austria

My time in Vienna was brief – just a day – and yet it left a lasting impression of a grandiose city filled with regal buildings, lovely architecture and good hearty food. The city’s Rathauspark Christmas market (above) is probably one of the best markets this traveller has ever been to.

23. Amsterdam, Netherlands

This could be controversial. I love Amsterdam but I’m not in love with it like I know so many other travellers are. Honestly, I think Amsterdam is one of the prettiest cities I’ve visited but parts of it are kind of ugly. I was lucky enough to be in Amsterdam for New Year’s Eve a few years back.

There really are a host of things to do there, ranging from Anne Frank’s annex to the Van Gogh Museum, river boat cruises, the flower markets, museums and much more. You can discover more things in Amsterdam on

22. Brussels, Belgium

Some people think Brussels is boring; I think those people are crazy. There is heaps to see and do in the European capital – including checking out the crazy Manneken Pis, the equally weird atomium and the appropriately named Grand Place.

Nicola stands in front of Athens' Acropolis

21. Athens, Greece

Few cities in the world are as historically significant as Athens, Greece – the so-called cradle of Western civilisation and the birthplace of democracy. That’s why it makes my list of the best places to visit in Europe. Check out my blog post 5 awesome things to do in Athens for just a few of the reasons why I love it so.

And that concludes the first ten. Agree/disagree with some of these picks? Let me know below…

About Simon Petersen 506 Articles
Travel blogger, journalist, sports and movie fiend. Chronicling the life and times of a Kiwi at home and abroad.


  1. That beach in Turkey looks incredible. I was in Turkey this summer, but I think I need to go back and visit Oludeniz. I am trying to get around Europe a little bit at a time at the moment, but I have been focusing more on Central/Eastern Europe recently, so I haven’t been to a lot of the places on your list. Athens is pretty high up on my list. I think I must be one of the only people in the world who disliked Vienna, I thought it was dull and surprisingly ugly away from the well-known landmarks!

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