Popular Places To Visit On Your First Trip To Europe

east side gallery image

Share this Post

A list of what we think are the most popular places to visit in Europe…  Including a few serious tips on things to do and see…

London

London is expensive and the weather is shitty.  But it’s actually a really cool city to visit.  There’s heaps to do.  We all lived there for a while and still didn’t do everything we wanted. The pubs are fantastic.  It’s definitely worth spending 4-5 nights in London at the start or end of your trip.

  • Tip: On a nice day (they do get the odd one here and there), head to Primrose Hill with a picnic and chill out for a few hours. You’ll get great views over the city.

 

Paris

Paris is officially the third busiest tourist city in the world, coming in behind only Bangkok and London.  We think it’s a really cool city not so much for the major tourist sites (although they’re pretty decent as well), but for the great atmosphere of the cafes and restaurants all around the place.  And also to laugh at everyone jumping off those boxes in front of the Louvre…

  • Tip: Check when things are open and closed. Lots of museums are closed on a Monday here, so you’ll need to organise your time around that.

 

Amsterdam

Weed, partying and the red light district. Probably the main reasons people visit the capital of the Netherlands (even if they don’t want to admit it). But there is actually quite a lot to see here too, it’s a beautiful city. Give yourself at least 3-4 days here. Or stay a bit longer and use it as a base to explore different parts of the Netherlands – it’s quite a small country, so it’s easy to do day trips to places like Rotterdam or The Hague.

  • Tip: The free walking tours here are a great way to learn more about the coffee shop culture and red light district. And if you’re really interested in the red light district, you can do tours or bar crawls around the area too.

 

Berlin

The capital city of Germany is up there with our favourite cities we’ve visited. The history of the city is really interesting, and there are a heap of walking tours that you can do to learn more about it. Aside from that, Berlin also has a really interesting alternative scene, is full of street art, and has some of the most popular and famous clubs in Europe.  You should probably stay here for a few months…  That’s probably a tad too long, but at least stay 4-5 nights.

  •  Tip: Make use of the free walking tours here too. You learn a lot about the history of Berlin and Germany, and all the guides were fantastic.

 

Munich

It’s a little known fact that the city of Munich actually extends beyond the boundaries of the Oktoberfest tents.  Ok we’re joking, but Oktoberfest is definitely what Munich is most popular for.  We think that Munich has quite a lot to offer outside of that.  Englischer Garten is a great place to explore.   There are also some great day trips that you can do outside of the city, such as Neuschwanstein Castle.  Spend 3-4 nights here, or more if you’re going to Oktoberfest too.

  • Tip: Glockenbachviertel – the neighbourhood surrounding Fraunhoferstraße U-Bahn Station, is great for cafes and bars.

 

Venice

Venice is an absolute “must see” for most people on their first trip to Europe. Unfortunately, this means that the city is now completely overrun with tourists, to the point that the locals are unhappy and starting to protest. To be honest, we thought that Venice was pretty shit.  It’s over-rated and way too many people there to really enjoy it. Saying that, lots of people do love Venice, and you should probably go anyway, just to see it for yourself.  You’ll find plenty of things to do to fill up a couple of days.

  • Tip: when you’re looking for accommodation, stay outside of the main area, either in Lido or Mestre. It’s still easy enough to see the main Island, but hopefully not as crowded or expensive.

 

Rome

There is so much to do in Rome that you can literally spend all your time running from one thing to the next.  Once you’ve done all of that, Rome has a pretty cool atmosphere and is a fun city to just wander around aimlessly for a while too.

  • Tip: When you’re done fighting the tourists to throw your coin in the Trevi Fountain, head over to Travstevere.  It’s a really cool neighbourhood to explore.

 

Florence

As you can see, a lot of the big tourist cities in Europe seem to be in Italy. Florence is the third, and probably our favourite of the three on this list. Being the birthplace of the renaissance, the history of the city is really interesting.  The architecture and the art galleries are incredible.  You can also do day trips to both Pisa and Sienna.  If you want enough time to do that and see the city as well, give yourself at least 4 nights here.

  • Tip: Head up the hill to the Piazalle Michelangelo for the best views of the city.  It’s a popular place for sunset.

 

Prague

Fifteen years ago, Prague was a bit under the radar and a ‘unique experience’.  Today, and it’s one of the most visited tourist cities in the world (sitting at number 20 in 2017 to be exact).  There will be a mountain of tourists here.  There are lots of people trying to sell you things and scam you.  It also has really cheap beer and a pretty incredible old town.  There is heaps to do.  It’s also fun to laugh at everyone fighting to get a good view of Prague’s Astronomical Clock.  That’s probably more entertaining than the clock itself…

  • Tip: Get up early (close to sunrise) to go and see the Charles bridge, before everyone else arrives.

 

Budapest

Budapest seems to be quickly catching up to Prague as one of the most visited and popular cities in central Europe. It’s actually a really cool city with plenty to do. Highlights here include taking a cruise on the Danube (particularly at night), and heading to one of the Turkish Baths for some relaxation. It’s also got a great nightlife, and is home to the famous ruin bars. We’d recommend at least 4 nights in Budapest to really make the most of it.

  • Tip: If you’re here on a weekend between April and October, the Szechenyi Baths host a pool party, which we’ve heard can be pretty crazy. Aside from that, the ruin bars are great so definitely check them out

 

Barcelona

Spain’s most popular tourist destination.   There is heaps to see and do here. The beach, the nightlife, Las Ramblas, Sagrada Familia, Park Güell... to really see everything and enjoy your time here, we think around 5 nights is what you’ll need. Barcelona is also becoming quite overcrowded with tourists, to the point where there have been recent protests. So keep that in mind when you go, and try and respect the local culture.

  • Tip: Although we never got scammed or pick pocketed in Barcelona, we were warned and heard countless stories of people who did. So be on guard.

 

The Greek Islands

The Greek Islands can be either very relaxing or very hectic, depending on when and where you go. The most popular and famous of the islands are probably Santorini (pictured), Mykonos, Crete, Corfu and Rhodes. Lots of people will do an organised tour of the islands, but it is possible to explore them on your own as well. You just need book your transport and accommodation a little early, particularly if you’re going in July or August.

  • Tip: try to spend a night or two on one of the ‘less popular’ islands as well (They’re all popular, just some less than others). Paros and Naxos are both worth a look and are slightly less crowded.

 

Did we miss anything?  This is just our opinion, so we’re sure we did…  Let us know what you think!

 

You might also like

 

Back to Travel Tips and Advice

Enjoy this article?

Join our email list and we’ll send you a monthly update with all of our latest articles and travel tips