Prague is a favorite of many first-time travelers to Europe thanks to its unique combination of architecture, vibrant nightlife and relative affordability. Wondering where to go for the first time in Europe? Prague is a favorite of many first-time travelers to Europe thanks to its unique combination of architecture, vibrant nightlife and relative affordability. Over the past 5-10 years, Prague has exploded in popularity, so be sure to expect crowds and lots of them. Europe is huge and full of “must-see places”.
Paris, Rome, Barcelona, London, Amsterdam and Venice are on the list of must-sees for many first-time travelers in Europe. They are all amazing places to visit. And with so many great places to see, it can be very difficult to narrow the list down to just a few destinations. I may be a little biased seeing how I live in London, but The Big Smoke is undeniably a city that you must see for the first time in Europe.
With 2000 years of history, more than 60 Michelin-starred restaurants and countless cultural attractions, there is something for every type of traveler in this metropolis. Use my 4-day London itinerary to explore the city's highlights and hidden gems. Check out my 2-day Edinburgh itinerary to plan your perfect trip. Amsterdam has a great party reputation (you can probably find out why).
But even quiet introverts like me will find plenty to love in the capital of the Netherlands. Whimsical facades, canal bridges and trendy cafés are Instagrammers' dream, and culture lovers can spend their days in the iconic art galleries and museums. Use my 2-day Amsterdam itinerary to navigate the best of the city. In case you need more justification, Brussels is on the Eurostar line connecting London, Paris and Amsterdam, making it an easy stop during your first trip to Europe.
And thanks to its status as an international business center, you can rely on English instead of French to move around the city. Paris is always a good idea. It is one of the first places I visited in Europe, and its unique Parisian charms keep me coming back again and again. You'll never forget the feeling of seeing the Eiffel Tower for the first time or trying your first French croissant.
Check out my 4-day Paris itinerary for more inspiration. Read my 2-day itinerary in Porto to plan your visit. I'll be honest, there's only one reason why I had to put Cologne on this list of must-see cities in Europe for the first time. And that reason is the cathedral of Cologne.
Words cannot describe how impressive this 13th century masterpiece is, especially the way it rises above the landscape below. Cologne is also home to some of the best German Christmas markets, including an amazing extension in front of the cathedral. Use my two-day itinerary in Cologne to navigate the best spots in the city. If fairytale cityscapes are your thing, you'll love Prague.
Nicknamed “The City of Hundred Spires “, Prague is full of medieval, Gothic and Baroque architecture. Anyone who loves the romantic feel of Paris should include Prague in their list of cities to visit in Europe for the first time. Stockholm was one of the first cities we visited in Europe after moving to London. We base the trip on its reputation as a city break.
But we quickly learned that there is more to Stockholm than minimalist furniture and Fika breaks. Paris is full of world-famous sights and attractions. But it is the romantic and unforgettable atmosphere of the city that makes it one of the best places to visit in Europe. Stroll through the beautiful districts (districts) and sample delicious Parisian delicacies or go shopping on the Champs Elysées.
Take in the breathtaking view from the top of the Eiffel Tower, visit the splendid Louvre and plan a day trip to the Palace of Versailles. Paris has a chic style of its own and people are also impossibly elegant. The Seine River meanders gracefully between the streets of the City of Light, providing an elegant backdrop to the stunning architecture and environmental streets. For families, both Disney Paris and Park Asterix are not far from Paris.
The peak season in Paris is from June to August. As it is one of the most visited cities in the world, during high season you can also expect crowds, traffic congestion and higher prices. September and October enjoy an average season with slightly fewer visitors and cooler temperatures. Paris is also impressive during the winter, with a much smaller number of tourists and cheaper accommodations except at Christmas.
There are some good Christmas markets in Paris during the festive period. There are 20 districts or districts in Paris that organize the city. The first time you come to Paris, it's overwhelming trying to figure out where to stay. Barcelona is one of Europe's most favorite cities, with Gaudi's incredible architecture adorning the vibrant streets.
Antoni Gaudí designed the fabulous Park Güell, Casa Milà and the Sagrada Familia, which are the most famous sites in Barcelona. Strolling along La Rambla is a must-see, with this attractive street full of shops and markets. Enjoy the perfect rays of the Mediterranean at Platja de Barceloneta, a beautiful urban beach. Barcelona is also a great place for fantastic day trips outside the city.
The region of Catalonia is dotted with medieval towns and a magical Mediterranean coast that begs to be explored. Don't miss the Dalí Museum and the artist's hometown, a little north of Barcelona. For first-time visitors to Barcelona, staying in the center is best. Try hotels in the Gothic Quarter to be close to many attractions, with great transport links as well.
For families in Barcelona, try Duchess of Cardona. This epic 4-star hotel boasts spectacular panoramic views from the rooftop pool and comfortable rooms that can accommodate up to 4 people. Check the full details for yourself, as facilities, restrictions and conditions have changed in recent years. The fascinating and impressive city of Dubrovnik sits as a sentinel on the Adriatic Sea in Croatia.
Its well-preserved historic center, protected by UNESCO, overlooking the sparkling sea has become even more iconic since its use as a filming location for Game of Thrones. This city will charm you with its unique style and its cobbled streets with glorious baroque buildings. September and October is the best time to visit Dubrovnik. The water temperature is still warm enough for swimming, and most large cruise ships have departed, leaving the streets ideal for exploration.
We think the best place to stay is the 5-star Hotel Dubrovnik Palace, which is located on a cliff overlooking the stunning Adriatic. Rome is the expanding capital of Italy and one of the best places to visit in Europe. Here you'll find over 3000 years of art, history and architecture, from the famous Colosseum to St. Peter's Basilica and everything in between.
September to November and April to May are generally considered the best times to visit Rome. During these times, enjoy sublime temperatures and fewer visitors than the peak summer months and European school holidays. Staying in the center near Piazza Navona and the Pantheon would be an excellent option for your first time in Rome. Here you will be within walking distance of many of the main attractions and surrounded by a village atmosphere.
The narrow cobbled streets lead among whimsical buildings with flower-filled planters. There are bakeries next to fountains and romantic café-lined alleys. This city is the epitome of romance and pure European happiness. Venice has a unique location, built on 100 small islands in a lagoon within the Adriatic Sea.
A visit to Venice is absolutely stunning. Enjoy incredible sunsets over the water. Along tranquil canals lined with classical Renaissance and Gothic architecture, paths and bridges intersect waterways and lead to the perfect city square: Piazza San Marco. Staying in the San Marco area puts you in the heart of the action, with Venice's most important sights just a short walk away.
These include La Piazza, the Grand Canal, St. Mark's Basilica and the Bridge of Sighs. London is undoubtedly one of the best places to visit on a holiday in Europe. We love it because of its ease, the richness of culture, history and architecture, and the brilliant free museums.
London is a very walkable city, but there are also plenty of public transport options to get you quickly from A to. Don't miss London's beautiful parks and open spaces and take a stroll along South Bank. Staying in central London is ideal for first-time visitors, but if you want to explore the outskirts of London or the wider area of London, consider places like Richmond Upon Thames, it is close to Richmond Park, Twickenham and Kew Gardens and is a very picturesque centre by the Thames. Greenwich is another good place to stay, with plenty to see locally.
Spring, between March and May, is probably my favorite time to be in London. Parks and gardens are flourishing, the winter cold has left the city and people are happily away from home once again. From June to August is the rush hour in the city. Winter in London is another great time to visit and keep costs down and reduce the number of tourists, which is reflected in cheaper airfares and accommodation offers, and shorter queues at attractions.
Around Christmas, prices go up, but London at Christmas is a great experience, as the city hosts numerous Christmas fairs and markets. The capital will be lit and dotted with outdoor ice rinks and Christmas street food. For beginners, it's a good idea to stay somewhere like Covent Garden, as it is within walking distance of many of London's most famous sights. There are tons of cool theatres and street performers at every turn, making Covent Garden a great backdrop for your London vacation.
Great connections on London's famous underground service and iconic red double-decker buses make getting around the city a breeze. Accommodation in London can be found at most prices. Expect to pay anywhere from £50 per night at the absolute minimum, to a small fortune. Amsterdam is one of the best places to visit in Europe and is also one of the most infamous cities on the planet.
Known for its winding canals, endless cycle paths and excellent art galleries with sublime Dutch artists Van Gogh, Vermeer and Rembrandt, it's worth adding a trip to Amsterdam to your European itinerary. Be sure to also visit the gloomy and intriguing Anne Frank House. Staying in the charming old town is the best option for your first visit to Amsterdam. Here you will find many places of interest within walking distance.
Fantastic shops, restaurants, bars, and nightlife are also nearby. Prague, the UNESCO listed “City of Hundred Spires”, is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, making it one of the best places to visit in Europe. There is simply no equal to its exquisite bohemian charm. With cobbled streets that wind between remarkable Gothic and Baroque architecture that is still full despite a couple of world wars, Prague absolutely delights your senses.
Those visiting Prague for the first time should try to stay in or near the Old Town. Here you will be within walking distance of many of the city's most important sights and attractions. You can see snow in Istanbul in winter and we happened to be there to see what happened. Istanbul doesn't have the huge crowd of school holidays of, for example, London or Paris, which makes things a little less crowded.
Room rates, crowds and weather are more manageable outside the peak season, think March to May and September to November. We visited in January and February and had no problems with the weather. Italy is full of ancient wonders, delicious food, coastal villages and beautiful cities in the hills. While most people visit Rome or Venice, there are many other wonderful places to visit, such as Cinque Terre, Tuscany, the Amalfi Coast, Florence and other areas of southern Italy.
Active travelers love Europe's wide attractions. You can ski in the French Alps, kayak in Croatia's Adriatic Sea, walk around Grindelwald in Switzerland, and cycle through the Netherlands, just to name a few popular outdoor activities. It's hard to imagine Italy without salivating because of the idea of its food. This boot-shaped country features tomatoes so sweet they taste like sweets, pizzas cooked to perfection and gelato that literally melts in your mouth.
Italy is a utopia for the gonomes. Even brighter than their food are the impeccable architectural and cultural masterpieces found in the ancient buildings, squares and museums dotted by Italy's bustling cities and small picturesque villages. Valencia will calm your soul with healing sea views, while the Costa Brava offers some of the most stunning beaches in Spain. The village of Hallstatt in the Austrian Alps, Austria is one of those countries that can really take your breath away.
Surrounded by the magnificent Australian Alps and dotted with sparkling lakes, this wonderland is one of the most beautiful countries in Europe. Austria is also one of the most musical. It is almost impossible to stroll through the country's many city streets without listening to a song fragment, especially one composed by the famous Austrian Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Born in Salzburg, the influence of the former baroque composer can be felt everywhere (his image is even found in chocolate wraps).
Make your way through narrow, winding alleys in the old town, Altstadt Salzburg (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), enjoy lunch in a courtyard or visit a museum or St. Peter's Abbey while you're in town. A masterpiece of the Mediterranean, Croatia offers landscapes to calm the soul and fresh food to treat the palate. With friendly locals, castles on the hills, preserved Roman ruins and a sea the color of sapphires, it's impossible to feel stressed in this charming archipelago.
Split is one of the most vibrant cities in Croatia and the second largest after Zagreb. Both are more than worthy of a visit. The island of Hvar will help you get your beach; it is considered the sunniest place in Europe. Croatia's supreme glory is its perfect position on the Adriatic Sea.
Be sure to board a boat at some point to explore the archipelago, especially the charming Elaphite Islands, which are located northwest of Dubrovnik. Do you feel adventurous? Kayaking and rafting are popular in Croatia, and you'll find plenty of rocky limestone cliffs to jump on. Lavender field in front of Simiane la Rotonde, Provence, France Less formally known as Holland, the Netherlands offers visitors a relaxing holiday full of art, beauty and plenty of cycling. Amsterdam is one of the best cities to visit in the Netherlands.
Despite its somewhat sordid reputation, this place full of canals is beautiful and full of impressive museums (40, to be exact). Don't miss the city's top attractions, the Rijksmuseum, the Ann Frank House and the Van Gogh Museum. Big cities aren't your only option in the Netherlands. The lovely fishing villages located along Lake Ijsselmeer are worth a stop, especially Marken, Volendam and Enkhuizen.
Located in northern Europe, between Norway and Finland, Sweden is the place to visit if you are looking for an incredible view of the northern lights. Here, you can stroll through dense forests, go canoeing through crystal clear waters, and set up a tent in an open field. Those who appreciate avant-garde architecture will be rewarded with some of the world's most fascinating designs in Sweden. The country's most vibrant city is Stockholm, where you'll find the popular Vasa Museum, as well as stylish shops and restaurants.
Don't miss a trip to Skansen, a large open-air museum that represents life in the 1720s to 1960s. Gothenburg, Sweden's second city, is another must-see for foodies (they have fantastic restaurants) and beach lovers alike. The medieval city of Bruges in Belgium Among its 450-island archipelago, you'll find villages dotted with wooden houses, well-kept gardens, as well as cities with palaces, museums and amusement parks (such as Copenhagen, with Christiansborg Palace and Tivoli Gardens). My recommendation on the best country to visit on someone's first trip abroad would be a country where their native language is spoken.
Visit these cheap places in Europe (we're talking about amazing places like Prague and Valencia) or head to these beautiful but affordable European countries (hello, Bulgaria and Romania). Some fantastic destinations to choose from in Mexico include Los Cabos (nicknamed “aquarium of the world” by Jacques Cousteau because of its abundant marine life), Riviera Maya (where you can visit spectacular Mayan ruins like Chichen Itza and Tulum) and Cancun (a popular party town with breakers of loose docks). I was lucky enough to visit Malaysia recently and I can attest that it is one of the best places to visit if you are just starting out. So, if you visit three cities, you will waste about a day in total just traveling from one place to another.
Head to Szentendre, a charming town, or to the Danube bend, and visit Visegrád, the seat of medieval Hungarian kings. If Croatia starts to feel too challenging (or expensive with the fees), you can add Budapest or Prague and visit another new country. Visit the museums of Museum Island, reflect on the Holocaust Memorial, head to the glass dome of the Reichstag (be sure to book in advance), marvel at the city's impressive churches, and enjoy art at the East Side Gallery, the remaining piece of the Berlin Wall featuring paintings from over 100 artists from all over the world. I have visited Paris only year after year and, despite being the city of love, it is a great city to enjoy alone.
It is possible, but you will only be able to visit a small part of these countries and, in my opinion, it would be too hasty. The cost of living (and travel) is comparable to that of Western Europe, and definitely the cheapest place among the Nordic countries. From its architectural masterpieces to its imposing mountain ranges, coastal cliffs and hill villages, your camera will thank you for visiting this magical place. If you're visiting Stockholm, Copenhagen and Amsterdam, you'll use a combination of planes and trains to get around.
All of these countries also have a great infrastructure for traveling, but they give them a more “rough around the edge” feel. . .