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Travel Europe – 10 Places You Must Not Miss While Travelling in Europe

Travel Europe – 10 Places You Must Not Miss While Travelling in Europe

Are you planning a trip to Europe in the near future? Have you already secured your initial flight and have a rough outline of the cities and attractions you'd like to explore but find yourself in search of additional information and inspiration to flesh out your itinerary? Read on

1. Wandering the Streets of Alfama in Lisbon, Portugal

Travel Europe – 10 Places You Must Not Miss While Travelling in Europe - Lisbon

is in the southern half of Portugal, making it a great destination to visit year-round – as summers are hot and winters are mild (aha, mild for Europe that is). It is also one of the cheapest countries to visit in the EU, making it a great destination option for backpackers.

If you have been to and you might have had a bit of exposure to Portuguese architecture, and there's no doubt that it is beautiful. As soon as you set foot in the beautiful area of Alfama you will be spellbound.

Alfama is Lisbon's oldest and most famous neighbourhood. The medieval-like village offers beautiful alleyways, steep hills, beautiful viewpoints, and charming houses, and it is mostly all pedestrian-only traffic.

The colours of Lisbon will also impress. Bright pink, orange, red and yellow buildings to the softer pale blue and light pink can easily be spotted while wandering around. The hand-painted tiles are worth stopping to admire, with detailed patterns and colours.

For more information on Lisbon, you can read.

Free Things To Do in Lisbon – Colourful Village-Like Capital of Portugal

2. Check out Gaudi's Architectural Delights and Hit the Beach – Barcelona, Spain

Travel Europe – 10 Places You Must Not Miss While Travelling in Europe - Barcelona

is a friendly, relaxed city with welcoming beachy vibes. It sits on the Mediterranean Sea and it is the perfect destination if you are travelling Europe in the summer and looking for an inexpensive relaxed coastal city to soak up the sun and of course, siestas.

The beach is a long strip near the city centre. Expect a clean spacious beachfront, a foreshore with showers, change rooms, outdoor gyms and paved walkways that follow the beach right along. Hotels, restaurants, markets, the harbour, everything is happening in the area.

The city is also famously known for its architecture. The unique designs are the work of Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi, who died 90 years ago. The famous Sagrada Familia commenced construction over 100 years ago, and has only recently entered the final stage of construction. It is estimated this final stage will be completed by 2026 – the centenary of Gaudi's death.

Forbes named the Sagrada Familia “the most beautiful building in the world“. If that's not a reason to visit then i don't know what is! If you wish to visit inside, organise your tickets well in advance as the lines outside the building for tickets are HUGE.

While you're at it, take a look at some of Gaudi's other works then take a stroll through the Triumphal Arch, an Islamic-styled arch established in 1888 that leads to beautiful walking tracks, parklands and gardens.

3. Explore the Canals & Red Light District, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Travel Europe – 10 Places You Must Not Miss While Travelling in Europe - Amsterdam

A visit to Europe is not complete without visiting . A visit to Amsterdam is not complete without taking a look and wandering around the Red Light District.

Now I am not saying you must use the services on offer (of course you can if you wish) but check it out to see what it is all about. I mean, it is one of the most famous attractions in the city.

A wander by day or by night (better at night) you can view ‘the ladies' – normally sitting or standing behind the window dressed in lingerie luring in passers-by. During the day, business is quieter, so most ladies are sitting, smoking or busy on their smartphones, but it gets busier after dark and you can see the girls dancing.

Wander around the city and you will find yourself easily lost. Every street seems to have a canal crossing it either horizontally or vertically. It is really hard to pinpoint where you are on the map if not near the main attraction (but that's half the fun). If you wish to explore by boat, you can opt for a canal tour on a tourist boat.

While you're wandering, check out the Albert Cuypstraat Market. This is the most popular market in Amsterdam and has been continually running since 1904. Here you can find clothing, shoes, household goods, souvenirs, fresh fruit and vegetables and lots of street food.

There is so much to see and do in Amsterdam and the locals are really friendly and welcoming. It is not the cheapest city to visit, however, many guesthouses do offer value-for-money dorm rooms – considering this is Amsterdam after all.

The 8 Best Cities for Digital Nomads in The Netherlands

4. Auschwitz and Birkenau Camps –  Oświęcim, Poland

Travel Europe – 10 Places You Must Not Miss While Travelling in Europe - auschwitz

Visiting Auschwitz and Birkenau concentration camps is not only moving but very very educational. One quote on the wall in Auschwitz reads, “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it” (George Santayana). I think it is a valuable quote.

Taking the guided tour is invaluable (and also very affordable) – with tours offered in a range of languages running throughout the day it is also very easy to organise. The guides share information on the camp, significant sites and buildings in the camps as well as information about the war, stories of events that occurred in the camps as well as individual prisoner stories.

Auschwitz I is set up with a lot of photographs, prisoner belongings on display, and many informative boards to read. One block is set up to show the living conditions and sleeping rooms of the prisoners, while another displays artefacts and prisoner belongings that have been retrieved at the end of the war. Block 11 was quite confronting, as it had been used as a punishment room with a gas chamber in the basement.

The free shuttle bus will then take you to Birkenau, a much larger camp ‘working' camp. It is now referred to as an extermination camp due to the large amount of mass murders that occurred. Visiting both camps you will learn a lot, and it will instil in you.. We are all one. Every living being. Everyone deserves life.

For more information, booking a tour and catching the bus from Krakòw see:

Auschwitz Tour – Tickets, Transport, Camps & Guided Tour

5. Market Square, Krakòw, Poland

Travel Europe – 10 Places You Must Not Miss While Travelling in Europe - Krakow

One word sums up with the city and that is.. magic. The historical centre is not huge so walking around is very enjoyable. The population is also quite low so no need to make your way through huge crowds just to cross the street.

However, during the summer months, many tourists descend on the city's main attractions and lively restaurant and bar scene. Speaking of the bar scene, Krakow is home to one of the highest concentrations of drinking establishments in the world (by square kilometre and per capita).

offers travellers quite good value for money when considering the cost of accommodation, meals and transport costs – being one of the most affordable countries in the EU to visit.

Wander around the city's main Market Square at twilight, as the sun starts to set over the historical buildings and horses clip-clop along the cobblestone.

Dine in one of the many luxurious-looking restaurants and spend the rest of the evening checking out the street performers. Saint Mary's Basilica is a main feature of the square, towers over nearby buildings and was built in the 1200s.

While you're wandering around the old city area, be sure to stop by Wawel Castle – one of the cities main attractions. It also offers a great view over the city and along the Vistula River.

For more information, see:

Things to Do in Krakow – Poland

6. The Spice Market & Blue Mosque – Istanbul, Turkey

blue mosque istanbul

Istanbul would have to be my favourite city in Europe. It is outside of the ‘Schengen Zone' so it is a great place to visit either before or after your 3 months in the zone. The city is not only beautiful, set on the Bosphorus with the most magical mosques and quaint alleyways – but the people of Istanbul are AMAZING.

The city is one of a kind and is the only city in the world to be located in two continents (both Europe and Asia) with a rich history dating back more than 4000 years.

Wandering around the Spice Market and Grand Bazaar will not only be an exciting and magical experience, but you can also buy some really beautiful gifts, sweets (a lot of Turkish delight), spices and tea.

The store owners and market vendors are both friendly and chatty and can give you some great tips on things to do and see in the area. The streets around the Spice Market were one of my favourite places to wander in the city.

While in Istanbul you must not miss the Blue Mosque. The exterior is grand but once inside you can view its real beauty. There is also a free information session to help broaden your understanding of Islam, the pray rituals which Muslim people undertake five times each day and the significance of the Blue Mosque. I found this experience fantastic and educational.

Looking for somewhere full of life, vibrant and exciting to have a meal or do some shopping – check out Taksim Square and the main street. Follow the flags right down the heart of the city, taste some street food (Kumpir, a large packed potato is the best), and watch as thousands of people pass by.

You will be enchanted by Istanbul and if you are like me, then already planning your return. For more information on things to do and see in Istanbul, see:

Things to Do in Istanbul – My Favourite City in Europe

7. Old Town Square and Charles Bridge, Prague, Czech Republic

Charles Bridge Prague

Prague is a magical historical city. Filled with so much history and culture to learn about and is set in one of the most picturesque locations – on the Vitava river. The river cuts through the centre of the old city area with the famous Charles Bridge connecting the Old Town Centre with the Prague Castle area.

One of the most interesting finds while wandering the streets is the Prague Astronomical Clock. Made in 1410 and still working today, it is the third oldest clock in the world. It is located in Old Town Square.

Take a close look and you will find it both fascinating and complicated. It is an ancient ‘orlop' that shows Old Bohemian time and German time. It also shows the sunset, sunrise, phases of the moon and the sun's zodiac position.

The cost of travel in Prague, transport, and meals is also very affordable in comparison to other capital cities in Europe. For more information on Prague, see:

Backpacking Europe Guide to Prague + Architectural Attractions

8. Heldenplatz, Heroes Square, and Naschmarkt Flea Market, Vienna, Austria

Heldenplatz Vienna

Vienna is a charming city with a rich history and fine arts culture waiting to be explored. Vienna is known as the most influential city in Europe for classical and opera music, and many attractions adhere to this arts and musical theme.

Vienna is one of the more expensive cities to visit in Europe, however, it is important to note that many of the attractions (architecture and a few art exhibitions) are free to visit. Vienna's museums are quite expensive.

Heldenplatz is a large, green and open area with prominent statues and buildings located in the centre of the city. Here you can find the Museum of Art History (home to one of the largest art collections in the world), and the Museum of Natural History (check out the huge fossil spiders).

Heroes' Square is home to the Imperial Palace. The area was first named Heroes' Square during the war. This was where once part of the old city walls stood and where a battle took place. Many soldiers died and remain buried deep under the surface, where the grass lawn is today.

Naschmarkt Flee Market is an extremely interesting and large antique market held on Saturday mornings only. Hundreds of people from all walks of life wander through the stalls each Saturday. The market is extremely unique to say the least and easily the best flee market that i have ever been to in my life.

Highlights were antique typewriters and cameras, old painted handmade wooden jewellery boxes, war memorabilia, antique jewellery and clothes, as well as the creepy taxidermy animals.

The Steffl Church also deserves a mention when discussing attractions in Vienna. The impressive gothic church dates back to 1137 and is one of the most impressive of its kind in the world.

For more information on travelling to and visiting Vienna, see:

Things To Do in Vienna, Austria – Home of Fine Arts and Music

9. Mineral Baths and Budapest by Night, Budapest, Hungary

budapest baths

is one of the top 15 most popular tourist destinations to visit in the world. It is easy to see why. The capital is considered one the world's most beautiful cities. The main tourism draw cards? World-class architecture, crazy fun nightlight and the many natural thermal baths.

Budapest is made up of two cities, Buda is the city on the west side of the Danube River, while Pest sits on the east. They are considered two different cities, however collectively known as Budapest.

Stroll around after dark and you will be mesmerised (and take a lot of photographs). Check out the Castle Hill Area – this is the oldest part of the city where you find the major architectural attractions such as Mathias Church, the Royal Palace, Fisherman's Bastion and the Labyrinth.

Cross the Danube Bridge or the Chain Bridge (basically attractions on their own) on foot and check out the famous House of Parliament building. This area sparkles at night. During opening hours you can view the Holy Crown and the Hungarian crown jewels at the House of Parliament.

After exploring make your way to one of the many thermal bathhouses. Szechenyi Thermal Bath House is a good choice and is the largest spa complex in Europe. Many of the baths in Budapest are over 500 years old.

For more travel advice and tips on Budapest, see:

Budapest Travel Guide – Budget Travel, Attractions, Tips, Costs

10. Colosseum and The Vatican State, Rome, Italy

vatican

A trip to isn't complete without marveling at the iconic Colosseum. This massive amphitheater, the largest ever built, is renowned for its gladiatorial battles—a subject likely familiar from history lessons.

The Colosseum's past is filled with gruesome events, from gladiators fighting to the death, whether on foot or horseback, to uneven battles between armed gladiators and defenseless prisoners, or ferocious encounters with wild beasts like tigers, lions, or bears brought in specifically for entertainment.

Venturing inside, visitors can explore the ancient seating areas and delve into the labyrinth of underground tunnels, hidden chambers, and passageways that lay beneath the arena floor.

A stroll through the neighboring Palatine Hill and Roman Forum is also recommended. The ruins here, with their arches, buildings, and remnants of ancient grandeur, showcase the remarkable engineering feats of our ancestors, achieved without today's technology.

The Vatican State offers its own enchantments within Rome. Among its treasures, St. Peter's Basilica stands out as a masterpiece of Renaissance architecture, adorned by the works of Michelangelo and Carlo Maderno. St. Peter's Square, with its central Egyptian obelisk, offers a picturesque setting for photography enthusiasts.

Don't miss the Sistine Chapel, where Michelangelo's breathtaking artistry awaits, along with a chance to explore its various chambers.

And keep an eye out for the Pope during your visit. For further details on navigating Rome, see:

The Top 7 Places To Visit In Rome

 

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