As it boasts a staggering array of incredible countries, cities and nature sights, it should come as no surprise to learn that Europe attracts more tourists than any other continent. Besides delving into its rich cultural heritage and exploring its myriad of impressive old historic sites, visitors can enjoy its exceptional artist and architectural treasures, diverse dining scenes and stupendous scenery.
Despite its relatively small size, Europe is astonishingly diverse with soaring mountain ranges, such as the Alps, Carpathians and Pyrenees, set alongside major rivers like the Danube, Rhine and Volga. While the cold Arctic and Atlantic oceans lie to the north and west, its southern shores are bounded by the sparkling waters of the Mediterranean and Black seas. As well as swathes of fertile farmland and pristine forests, it boasts amazing coastal scenery with vast valleys, twinkling lakes and breathtaking national parks.
As each of its 44 countries are home to their own unique cultures, languages and identities, it can be hard to know where to start. Add in the innumerable kingdoms, empires and republics that existed on the continent over the ages and Europe really does have an almost endless list of enticing historic towns, castles and archaeological sites to visit.
While its major capitals such as Amsterdam, London, Paris and Rome all attract hordes of tourists, thanks to their iconic cultural landmarks, world-class museums and lively atmospheres, the massive metropolises of Barcelona, Istanbul and Saint Petersburg are all equally well worth visiting. On top of this, both Berlin and Prague count among the most visited cities on the continent with the former known for its moving monuments and vibrant nightlife scene and Czechia’s capital for its charming cobbled streets, castle and cathedral.
Aside from Europe’s countless cities, many people also delight in driving about its small towns that are often set in spellbinding spots. While Italy’s Amalfi Coast is one of the most alluring stretches of coastline in the world, Hallstatt, the ‘Pearl of Austria’, and Dubrovnik in Croatia are just as stunning. In addition, beautiful historic towns such as Bruges, Edinburgh and Sintra all have their admirers.
While many people come to explore its cities and towns or see famous sites such as the Colosseum, Eiffel Tower and Buckingham Palace, just as many visit for its sublime scenery. Aside from hiking and skiing about the Alps, you can always snap photos at the phenomenal Pulpit Rock, cycle around the Netherlands’ colorful tulip fields or bask on one of the Mediterranean’s breathtaking beaches.
As well as visiting fairytale castles, like Neuschwanstein, mountaintop monasteries, like Meteora, and awe-inspiring archaeological sites, such as Pompeii and Ephesus, visitors to Europe can also explore its innumerable islands and archipelagos. While the wild and rugged Azores and Lofoten Islands are sure to delight outdoor adventurers, the gorgeous Greek Islands of Crete, Mykonos and Santorini all attract holidaymakers looking to relax and unwind.