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The Ultimate Europe Bucket List: All the Best Places to Visit in Europe

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Europe is one of the most frequently traveled continents in the world, especially for Americans and Europeans. Most Americans’ & Europeans’ first time out of their home country is to either the Caribbean or Europe because it’s a lot closer to home. If you’ve seen my bucket list, you’ll know I want to visit every country in the world. While that might be a bit too big of a pill to swallow for most, I know most people really want to travel to all the best places to visit in Europe. I’ve come up with the perfect Europe bucket list. Keep reading for information for the best places to visit in every country in Europe!

best places to visit in europe bucket list

Northern Europe Bucket List

The first area of Europe to mention is Northern Europe. Traditionally a rather expensive area of Europe to visit, Northern Europe consists of 5 countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. This area is sometimes also referred to as Scandinavia.

Northern Europe has lots to offer, especially when it comes to incredible scenery. Due to its geographical location, it’s quite cold compared to the rest of Europe. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take a visit. Let’s find out what there is to do across Northern Europe!

Denmark

Denmark is one of the more easily accessible countries of Northern Europe. It’s rather small compared to its neighboring countries in Northern Europe. The country is almost entirely surrounded by water, giving it a fairytale feel.

Denmark also has two autonomous regions: Greenland and the Faroe Islands. Both are equally worth their own trip!

Fly into: Copenhagen

Recommended Trip Length: 3-7 days

–Bucket List Destinations in Denmark–

  • Copenhagen
  • Aarhus
  • Odense
  • Aalborg
  • Ribe
  • Thy National Park
  • Esbjerg
  • Helsingor
  • Billund
  • Skagen

Finland

Finland is an often looked over country in Europe. It can be rather difficult and expensive to get outside of the capital city of Helsinki.

Because of how far north Finland is, most people would want to avoid it in the winter. However, I would argue Finland is most beautiful in the winter. Definitely don’t count Finland out because its landscapes are absolutely breathtaking and most definitely is worth an add to your bucket list!

Fly into: Helsinki

Recommended Trip Length: 5-14 days

–Bucket List Destinations in Finland–

  • Helsinki
  • Finnish Lapland
  • Aland Islands
  • Nuuksio National Park
  • Porvoo
  • Tampere
  • Lake Saimaa
  • Turku

Iceland

Iceland is one of the most popular Europe bucket list destinations. It’s gotten significantly more popular over the last 5 or so years. It’s relatively close to the US, making it an easy trip for Americans.

Since Iceland is an island country, it’s rather expensive. Mostly everything has to be imported. All the expense will be worth it when you see how beautiful the country of Iceland is. One of the best ways to see the country is by renting a car.

Fly into: Reykjavik

Recommended Trip Length: 5-10 days

–Bucket List Destinations in Iceland–

  • Reykjavik
  • Blue Lagoon
  • Golden Circle
  • Vatnajokull National Park
  • Hofn
  • Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon
  • Seljalandsfoss Waterfall
  • Myvatn
  • Akureyri
  • Grundarfjorður

Norway

Norway is the country in Northern Europe I am most looking forward to visiting. Similar to the rest of Northern Europe, the landscapes in Norway are absolutely breathtaking.

Because Norway has so much shoreline, it’s a great country to see by cruise. The country is massive and some of the coastal towns can be more difficult to visit which is why a cruise is a great option. Likewise, renting a car taking a road trip is another great way to see Norway.

Fly into: Oslo or Bergen

Recommended Trip Length: 5-14 days

–Bucket List Destinations in Norway–

  • Oslo
  • Bergen
  • Lofoten Islands
  • Tromso
  • Alesund
  • Stavanger
  • Flam
  • Preikestolen
  • Kjeragbolten
  • Trolltunga
  • Geirangerfjord
  • Svalbard

Sweden

Sweden is the only of the 5 Northern Europe countries I’ve been to personally and I truly think it’s one of the best places to visit in Europe. I spent a long weekend in Stockholm and wish I had spent longer.

Compared to its neighbors Finland and Norway, Sweden has a much more charming capital city and is perfect for shorter trips if you only have a few days to spare. That being said, it’s definitely worth a longer trip if you have time!

Fly into: Stockholm

Recommended Trip Length: 3-10 days

–Bucket List Destinations in Sweden–

  • Stockholm
  • Malmo
  • Gothenburg
  • Stockholm Archipelago
  • Swedish Lapland
  • Uppsala
  • Gotland
  • Ystad

Western Europe Bucket List

The next area of Europe I’m going to be diving into is Western Europe. I’m going to also include what’s considered Southwestern Europe into this group. Western Europe is arguably one of the more popular regions in Europe, especially for American travelers.

Some of Europe’s most popular cities are in Western Europe, so if you’re an avid traveler, you’ve likely already visited quite a few of these places. However, there’s so much more to see in these Western European countries outside of their popular cities which is why I think these are some of the best places to visit in Europe.

Andorra

Andorra is one of the smallest countries in Europe. Most people have never even heard of it. It’s the first of six European microstates, which are essentially just very small countries.

Andorra is wedged in between Spain and France. It’s really easy to visit Andorra as a day trip from Barcelona. Andorra is also a really popular ski destination. I’d highly recommend it if you’re a big fan of skiing or if you’re taking a trip to Spain or France.

Fly into: Barcelona, Spain

Recommended Trip Length: 1-4 days

–Bucket List Destinations in Andorra–

  • Andorra La Vella
  • Encamp
  • Pal
  • El Pas de la Casa
  • Sorteny National Park
  • Soldeu

Belgium

Belgium is an often forgotten country in Western Europe despite being sandwiched between two of the regions most popular countries: France and the Netherlands.

There’s a lot of incredible places to visit in Belgium. It’s a great country to visit on a larger European trip because of how accessible it is to other parts of Europe. Belgium stands well on its own though, so don’t hesitate to plan a trip to explore the whole country!

Fly into: Brussels

Recommended Trip Length: 3-7 days

–Bucket List Destinations in Belgium–

  • Brussels
  • Bruges
  • Antwerp
  • Ghent
  • Dinant
  • Ardennes
  • Mons
  • Ostend

France

France is arguably one of the most popular countries in all of Europe. It’s often the destination for somebody’s first trip to Europe and for a good reason. France is personally one of my favorite countries in Europe and Paris is one of my favorite cities in the whole world.

There’s no possible way to cover all of France in one trip because of how much there is to see throughout the country. Each region of the country truly needs its own trip to fully see it all. I’m going to list some regions to visit instead of specific places because there are so many.

Fly into: Paris, Nice, or Marseille

Recommended Trip Length: 7-14 days

–Bucket List Destinations in France–

  • Paris
  • Nice
  • Mont St. Michel
  • French Riviera
  • Normandy
  • Strasbourg
  • Bordeaux
  • Colmar
  • Provence
  • Corsica
  • Burgundy
  • Verdon Gorge

Ireland

Ireland is the perfect country for a first time visitor to Europe. They speak English, it’s an easy country to just rent a car and drive around, and it’s relatively close to the US.

Ireland is one of the most beautiful countries when it comes to landscapes. They don’t call it the Emerald Isle for nothing! Ireland can easily stand alone or can be combined with trips to other parts of Europe, like the UK.

Fly into: Dublin or Shannon

Recommended Trip Length: 5-10 days

–Bucket List Destinations in Ireland–

  • Ring of Kerry
  • Donegal
  • Limerick
  • Wicklow Mountains
  • Blarney
  • Waterford

Luxembourg

Luxembourg is one of the smallest countries in all of Europe. Although it’s not officially one of the European microstates, it definitely feels like it due to the size.

Even though Luxembourg is small, it’s definitely worth a visit! If you’re somebody who’s a big fan of day trips like me, you can visit Luxembourg on a rather long day trip from one of the surrounding countries. But, I’d highly recommend spending a few nights here to see it in all its glory.

Fly into: Luxembourg City

Recommended Trip Length: 1-4 days

–Bucket List Destinations in Luxembourg–

  • Luxembourg City
  • Vianden
  • Upper Sure Natural Park
  • Clervaux
  • Beaufort
  • Echternach
  • Schengen
  • Moselle Valley

Monaco

Monaco is the second of six European microstates. Despite its size, Monaco is the richest country per capita in Europe.

Although it’s small, it’s very popular, likely given its location in the South of France. Monaco is also the home of the very famous Formula One Motor Race, the Monaco Grand Prix. It’s also home to the famous casino Monte Carlo. Because of how small Monaco is, there aren’t really destinations in Monaco as it is the destination.

Fly into: Nice, France

Recommended Trip Length: 1-3 days

Netherlands

The Netherlands is right up there with France as one of the most popular countries in Europe. You’ll frequently hear the Netherlands referred to as Holland, although that name was officially dropped in early 2020 as it only referred to two of the country’s twelve provinces.

The Netherlands is rather small in comparison to the other most popular countries in Europe, but don’t count it out. Amsterdam is the most popular city, but the rest of the country deserves a visit too! If you can travel here in early April to see the Tulip blossoms, definitely do as it’s quite a beautiful sight to see.

Fly into: Amsterdam

Recommended Trip Length: 3-7 days

–Bucket List Destinations in the Netherlands–

  • Amsterdam
  • Rotterdam
  • Giethoorn
  • Haarlem
  • Utrecht
  • Zaanse Schans
  • Kinderdijk
  • The Hague
  • Gouda
  • Hoge Veluwe National Park
  • Maastricht
  • Delft

Portugal

Portugal is one of the best places to visit in Europe. It’s become more and more popular over the last few years, and for good reason!

People often visit Portugal in conjunction with Spain due to their geographic proximity to one another. However, I highly recommend visiting Portugal on its own and seeing more than 1 or 2 cities in Portugal. Portugal also has a few autonomous regions that I’ll include in the best places to visit in Portugal list below.

Fly into: Lisbon or Porto

Recommended Trip Length: 5-14 days

–Bucket List Destinations in Portugal–

  • Lisbon
  • Porto
  • Madeira
  • Azores Islands
  • Coimbra
  • Aveiro
  • Sintra
  • Lagos
  • Cascais
  • Fatima
  • Evora
  • Albufeira

Spain

Spain is another one of Europe’s giants when it comes to tourists. Spain has always been a popular country to visit which is why it’s no surprise it should be on anybody’s European bucket list.

I find that everybody who visits Spain can’t help but fall in love with the country and it’s charming cities. Some of my favorite cities in Europe are in Spain. It’s close proximity to Morocco also makes it a great place to do a combination trip between Spain and Morocco. Not to mention, Spain has some great islands in the Mediterranean that are absolutely worth a visit.

Fly into: Madrid or Barcelona

Recommended Trip Length: 5-14 days

–Bucket List Destinations in Spain–

  • Barcelona
  • Marbella
  • Balearic Islands
  • Valencia
  • San Sebastian
  • Cordoba
  • Madrid
  • Seville
  • Malaga
  • Granada
  • Ronda
  • Canary Islands

England

Next on the Europe bucket list is England. Technically, England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales are part of the UK. However, there’s way too much to see in each of the 4 countries that make up the UK, so we have to separate them.

England is the most popular of the four countries that make up the United Kingdom. The other great thing about England is that as a part of the UK, English is the main language. This makes it super easy for Americans to visit because there’s no language barrier.

Fly into: London or Manchester

Recommended Trip Length: 5-14 days

–Bucket List Destinations in England–

  • London
  • Brighton
  • Lake District National Park
  • Cornwall
  • Liverpool
  • York
  • Oxford
  • Manchester
  • Cotswolds
  • Bath
  • Cambridge
  • Canterbury

Northern Ireland

Often grouped in with Ireland proper, Northern Ireland is actually a part of the United Kingdom. Due to it being on the island of Ireland, looping Northern Ireland into a trip to Ireland is extremely easy.

Because Northern Ireland is separate from Ireland due to it being part of a separate country and is separate from the rest of the United Kingdom being on a completely different island, Northern Ireland is often looked over. However, the stunning landscapes alone make this an incredible destination, even if it’s just an addition to another trip. Plus, Game of Thrones fans will want to visit as this is where a lot of the series was filmed.

Fly into: Belfast

Recommended Trip Length: 3-7 days

–Bucket List Destinations in Northern Ireland–

  • Belfast
  • Giant’s Causeway
  • Glens of Antrim
  • Mourne Mountains
  • Londonderry
  • Dark Hedges
  • Lough Erne
  • Dunluce Castle

Scotland

Scotland is the second most visited part of the United Kingdom after England. The country has gained a lot more popularity in recent years due to popular TV shows like Outlander.

Similar to the other parts of the UK, Scotland is full of absolutely breathtaking landscapes. I would argue it has the best landscapes in all of the United Kingdom. While it can be combined with other parts of the UK in one trip, I highly recommend taking a trip to Scotland and diving deep into the beauty this country has to offer.

Fly into: Edinburgh or Glasgow

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Recommended Trip Length: 5-14 days

–Bucket List Destinations in Scotland–

  • Edinburgh
  • Glasgow
  • Isle of Skye
  • Hebrides
  • Glenfinnan Viaduct
  • Glencoe
  • Inverness
  • Loch Lomond
  • St. Andrews
  • Scottish Highlands
  • Loch Ness
  • Stirling

Wales

Wales is the final country that makes up the United Kingdom. Similar to other parts of the UK, a visit to Wales is often combined with a trip to England.

Wales is a great little country. I would recommend it for a second or third trip to the UK as I think England and Scotland particularly have a lot more to offer. That being said, definitely make a trip out to Wales at some point!

Fly into: Cardiff

Recommended Trip Length: 3-7 days

–Bucket List Destinations in Wales–

  • Cardiff
  • Snowdonia National Park
  • Swansea
  • Brecon Beacons
  • Aberystwyth
  • Pembrokeshire Coast
  • Aberaeron
  • Conwy

Central Europe Bucket List

Central Europe has some of the best places to visit in Europe. A lot of these countries get overlooked compared to their Western Europe counterparts, but some of these are just as good, if not better, than those in Western Europe.

Another benefit about a couple of these countries is that they don’t use the Euro for currency. Because these countries in Central Europe don’t use the Euro, they tend to be a lot more affordable to travel around. It’s about half and half here, compared to Eastern Europe where a lot of the countries have their own currency. Let’s dive right into this Central Europe bucket list!

Austria

Austria is one of my favorite countries in Europe. I can’t believe how often Austria is brushed to the side in favor of its very popular neighbors Germany, Italy, and Switzerland.

Not only does Austria have some pretty incredible cities, but the landscapes are incredible. After all, the Alps pass right through a good portion of Austria. Take serious notes about where to visit in Austria, because it’s a great location for your next trip!

Fly into: Vienna

Recommended Trip Length: 5-10 days

–Bucket List Destinations in Austria–

  • Vienna
  • Salzburg
  • Hallstatt
  • Tyrol
  • Innsbruck
  • Wachau Valley
  • Melk
  • Durnstein
  • Zell Am See
  • Graz

Czech Republic

The Czech Republic, otherwise known as Czechia, is one half of the former Czechoslovakia. It’s one of the countries in Central Europe that doesn’t use the Euro like the majority of Europe. Because of that, the prices are great!

The Czech Republic has gotten more popular over the last few years with Prague gaining popularity. It’s well deserved too as the country is beautiful. A visit to Prague is a must, but try to venture outside of the city as well, even if it’s just on day trips.

Fly into: Prague

Recommended Trip Length: 3-7 days

–Bucket List Destinations in Czech Republic–

  • Prague
  • Cesky Krumlov
  • Telc
  • Plzen
  • Brno
  • Bohemian Switzerland
  • Kutna Hora
  • Karlovy Vary

Germany

Germany is another giant on the list of best places to visit in Europe. Similar to France, there’s quite a lot of incredible places to see in Germany and it’s impossible to see it all in a single visit. Germany is likely a place you’ll return to time and time again.

Some of the places I’ll mention are going to be regions rather than specific places. I couldn’t possible cover all the wonderful places to see in Germany in a short description, so this will be a good place to start. If you can manage to visit Germany in late September for Oktoberfest, you won’t be disappointed!

Fly into: Berlin, Munich, Dusseldorf, or Frankfurt

Recommended Trip Length: 5-14 days

–Bucket List Destinations in Germany–

  • Berlin
  • Munich
  • Passau
  • Cologne
  • Heidelberg
  • Black Forest
  • Neuschwanstein Castle
  • Dresden
  • Hamburg
  • Moselle Valley
  • Rothenburg
  • Nuremberg

Hungary

The next destination on the Europe bucket list is Hungary. Outside of the major highlight of Budapest, Hungary is a largely forgotten country. It’s definitely worth some time outside of the city if you can stretch it.

Similar to the Czech Republic, Hungary also does not use the Euro making it rather affordable. If you only have a little time to spare, make sure you visit Budapest. It’s truly one of the best cities in Europe.

Fly into: Budapest

Recommended Trip Length: 3-7 days

–Bucket List Destinations in Hungary–

  • Budapest
  • Pecs
  • Lake Balaton
  • Tihany
  • Tapolca
  • Aggtelek National Park
  • Eger
  • Tokaj

Liechtenstein

Liechtenstein is another one of the microstates on our European bucket list. Liechtenstein is right in the middle of Switzerland and Austria so it’s absolutely beautiful.

Because of how small Liechtenstein is, most people will only pass through or make a day trip there from Zurich as it’s rather close. You could also very easily rent a car and take your own day trip if you’d like to travel independently.

Fly into: Zurich, Switzerland

Recommended Trip Length: 1-4 days

–Bucket List Destinations in Liechtenstein–

  • Vaduz
  • Malbun
  • Balzers
  • Triesenberg
  • Steg
  • Eschen

Poland

Poland is one of the most underrated countries in Europe. It has some incredible cities and lots of beautiful landscapes. On top of that, Poland uses their own currency so it’s much more affordable than Western Europe.

Poland does have some dark history dating back to WWII, but the country is a breath of fresh air and should be at the top of your Europe bucket list. You could visit Poland with other surrounding countries, but I think it’s best as its own trip to really get a grasp on the beauty of this country.

Fly into: Krakow or Warsaw

Recommended Trip Length: 5-10 days

–Bucket List Destinations in Poland–

  • Warsaw
  • Krakow
  • Gdansk
  • Sopot
  • Poznan
  • Zakopane
  • Tatra National Park
  • Wroclaw
  • Auschwitz
  • Malbork

Slovakia

Slovakia is the other half of former Czechoslovakia with the Czech Republic. I only spent a very short amount of time in Slovakia, but actually really liked it. It definitely feels like a former Soviet territory, but it has a lot of life.

Slovakia seems like a country that would use a separately currency, but they actually use the Euro. That being said, Slovakia is still rather affordable compared to other countries that use the Euro still.

Fly into: Bratislava or Vienna, Austria

Recommended Trip Length: 3-7 days

–Bucket List Destinations in Slovakia–

  • Bratislava
  • High Tatras
  • Banska Stiavnica
  • Bojnice
  • Spis Castle
  • Bardejov
  • Kosice
  • Low Tatras National Park

Slovenia

Slovenia is one of Europe’s most underrated gems. It’s a bit more difficult to get to from the US which is probably a reason why it’s often forgotten.

Slovakia is part of a region of Europe referred to as the Balkans. People will frequently visit one or two stops in Slovenia during a larger Balkans trip, but Slovenia is absolutely worth more time. There are so many hidden gems in Slovenia that you’ll only see if you dig a little deeper!

Fly into: Ljubljana

Recommended Trip Length: 5-10 days

–Bucket List Destinations in Slovenia–

  • Ljubljana
  • Lake Bled
  • Skocjan Caves
  • Triglav National Park
  • Piran
  • Lake Bohinj
  • Maribor
  • Predjama Castle

Switzerland

Switzerland is one of Europe’s most physically beautiful countries. It’s almost smack dab in the middle of the continent, making it super accessible to other Europeans and Americans.

Switzerland has so many incredible sites to see. Make sure to budget accordingly in Switzerland as it’s quite expensive. That being said, I think you’ll find Switzerland to be very much so worth the expense!

Fly into: Zurich, Basel, or Bern

Recommended Trip Length: 5-14 days

–Bucket List Destinations in Switzerland–

  • Zurich
  • Geneva
  • Interlaken
  • Lake Lucerne
  • Grindelwald
  • Zermatt
  • Bern
  • St. Moritz
  • Basel
  • Lake Lugano

Eastern Europe Bucket List

Eastern Europe is an often forgotten about part of Europe. Eastern Europe definitely has fewer tourists than Western and even Central and Northern Europe. Several countries in Eastern Europe were formerly part of the Soviet Union, so there’s a lot of Russian influence in this part of Europe.

Despite the fewer tourists, some of Europe’s hidden gems are in Eastern Europe. You’ll also find these countries to be a lot more budget friendly as a lot of the countries use their own currencies instead of the Euro. Let’s dive right into why Eastern European countries should be at the top of your Europe bucket list!

Belarus

The first country on our Eastern Europe bucket list is Belarus. Belarus is a landlocked country that borders Russia to its East.

Belarus is one of Europe’s least visited countries. While this might be a bad thing in some people’s eyes, you’ll have so many incredible sites to yourself by visiting Belarus.

Fly into: Minsk

Recommended Trip Length: 3-7 days

–Bucket List Destinations in Belarus–

  • Minsk
  • Niasviz
  • Pripyatsky National Park
  • Brest
  • Grodno
  • Bialowieza Forest

Bulgaria

Our next country on this Eastern Europe bucket list is Bulgaria. Bulgaria is commonly considered part of Southeastern Europe, but I’m going to include it with the other European countries because I feel it fits best here.

Bulgaria sits on the Black Sea like many other Eastern European countries. Because of its location on the Black Sea, Bulgaria surprisingly has some nice beach towns that are great for a visit to this Eastern European country.

Fly into: Sofia

Recommend Trip Length: 5-10 days

–Bucket List Destinations in Bulgaria–

  • Sofia
  • Varna
  • Veliko Tarnovo
  • Belogradchik
  • Sozopol
  • Plovdiv
  • Rila Monastery
  • Nessebar
  • Pirin Mountains
  • Burgas

Estonia

Estonia is one of the best places to visit in Europe and one of Eastern Europe’s hidden gems. I’ve wanted to visit Estonia for years and am hoping to do so soon.

Estonia is commonly mentioned with Latvia and Lithuania as they’re all gathered together in the Northeastern corner of Europe. I would highly recommend taking a road trip between these 3 countries. However, if you only have time for one, Estonia stands out on its own.

Fly into: Tallinn

Recommend Trip Length: 3-7 days

–Bucket List Destinations in Estonia–

  • Tallinn
  • Tartu
  • Soomaa National Park
  • Rakvere Castle
  • Lahemaa National Park
  • Parnu
  • Narva
  • Saaremaa

Latvia

Latvia is the next country on this Europe bucket list. Similarly to Estonia, Latvia is part of the region in Europe referred to as the Baltics. I highly recommend pairing Latvia with a trip to Estonia and Lithuania by renting a car and doing a road trip.

Latvia is another surprising country in Europe as it’s great for a visit. The capital city, Riga, is especially charming and the perfect stop on a trip through several European countries.

Fly into: Riga

Recommended Trip Length: 3-7 days

–Bucket List Destinations in Latvia–

  • Riga
  • Turaida Castle
  • Cesis
  • Sigulda
  • Gauja National Park
  • Rundale Palace
  • Jurmala
  • Liepaja

Lithuania

Lithuania is the final country to make up the Baltic region of Europe. I’ve always been fascinated by Lithuania as I have family from this area.

Lithuania is the final country in my recommendation road trip through Eastern Europe to visit Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. I have some great recommendations for places to visit whether you’re on a road trip or if you’re visiting Lithuania only!

Fly into: Vilnius

Recommended Trip Length: 3-7 days

–Bucket List Destinations in Lithuania–

  • Vilnius
  • Trakai
  • Kaunas
  • Palanga
  • Raudondvaris
  • Kernave
  • Klaipeda
  • Aukstaitija National Park

Moldova

Moldova is another of of Europe’s least visited countries. It’s tucked between Ukraine and Romania, which are two of the more popular Eastern European destinations.

Because of its location, I would highly recommend visiting Moldova in conjunction with either southern Ukraine or Romania. While Moldova is land locked, it’s really close to the Ukrainian city of Odessa which is on the Black Sea and another great destination.

Fly into: Chisinau or Odesa, Ukraine

Recommended Trip Length: 2-5 days

–Bucket List Destinations in Moldova–

  • Chisnau
  • Tipova Monastery
  • Soroca
  • Old Orhei
  • Cricova Winery
  • Capriana

Romania

Romania is the next up on this Europe bucket list. It’s also one of the larger countries in Eastern Europe. While it’s one of the more popular countries in Eastern Europe, it’s still rather unknown and untraveled, at least by Americans.

While it would be possible to visit Romania in conjunction with another trip to other countries in Eastern Europe, I highly recommend letting Romania live on its own for a trip. There is so much to see in this country that goes outside of its main cities, and you’ll definitely be missing out if you don’t venture out of the capital.

Fly into: Bucharest

Recommended Trip Length: 5-14 days

–Bucket List Destinations in Romania–

  • Bucharest
  • Bran
  • Cluj-Napoca
  • Voronet Monastery
  • Danube Delta
  • Constanta
  • Brasov
  • Sibiu
  • Sinaia
  • Maramures
  • Timisoara
  • Mamaia

Russia

Russia is one of the last destinations in Eastern Europe and one of the best places to visit in Europe. Russia is the largest country in the world when it comes to size. Because it’s so big, Russia actually spans two continents: Europe and Asia. Even though I’m creating a Europe bucket list, I’m going to mention places across all of Russia to visit.

People all around the world have all different opinions on Russia. Those opinions stem from a bunch of different things, but what I’ve learned is that the people who have negative views about Russia have never visited. I highly encourage everybody visit Russia to see for yourself. I’ve heard nothing but incredible things from everybody who travels to Russia and truly think it’s a diamond in the rough. If you’re more comfortable on a cruise, you can even visit St. Petersburg, Russia visa free on a Baltic cruise.

Fly into: St. Petersburg or Moscow

Recommended Trip Length: 5-14 days

–Bucket List Destinations in Russia–

  • Moscow
  • St. Petersburg
  • Irkutsk
  • Sochi
  • Trans-Siberian Railway
  • Kizhi Island
  • Golden Ring
  • Lake Baikal
  • Kaliningrad
  • Kazan
  • Vladivostok
  • Petropavlovsk

Ukraine

Ukraine is the final Eastern European country in this European bucket list. It’s also the second largest country in Eastern Europe behind Russia. While some of the other Eastern European countries can be combined into one trip, I’d recommend giving Ukraine its own trip. You could easily combine it with Moldova, but I would make Ukraine the larger part of the trip.

Ukraine deserves to be its own trip not only because of its size, but because of all the beautiful places scattered throughout this country. In addition, Ukraine was home to one of the biggest disasters in history in the city of Chernobyl. You can even go and visit Chernobyl now if you’re brave enough (don’t worry, it’s perfectly safe).

Fly into: Kyiv, Lviv, or Odesa

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Recommended Trip Length: 5-14 days

–Bucket List Destinations in Ukraine–

  • Kyiv
  • Odessa
  • Carpathian Mountains
  • Chernobyl Exclusion Zone
  • Prypiat
  • Bukovel
  • Lviv
  • Dnipro
  • Kharkiv
  • Mukachevo
  • Kamianets-Podilskyi
  • Chernivtsi

Southern Europe Bucket List

The last main area of Europe we’re going to focus on is Southern Europe. I’m also going to be including Southeastern Europe in this list of best places to visit in Southern Europe. After the countries in Western Europe, the countries in Southern Europe probably are the most popular. These are countries that are associated with breathtaking coastlines, beautiful beaches, and warm weather due to their location on the Mediterranean Sea.

It’s likely that a few of these countries are already on your own Europe bucket list, but there are some hidden gems in Southern Europe that you definitely need to add to your list. Another fun way to visit Southern Europe is by cruise. Mediterranean cruises are some of the most popular cruises in all of Europe. Because these countries have such beautiful coastlines, they make for a great cruise. Let’s take a look at why these countries in Southern Europe are some of the best places to visit in Europe.

Albania

Albania is the first country on our European bucket list that falls in Southern Europe. It’s located in a region in Europe referred to as the Balkans. A great way to see Albania is on a road trip with other countries like Bosnia & Herzegovina and Montenegro.

Albania is just North of Greece and shares the same coastline, so you can only imagine how beautiful the coast is. The southern part of Albania is just as close to the Greek island of Corfu as the rest of Greece is, so that’ll put into perspective how beautiful Albania is and why you should visit!

Fly into: Tiran

Recommended Trip Length: 3-7 days

–Bucket List Destinations in Albania–

  • Tiran
  • Bay of Grama
  • Sarande
  • Himare
  • Berat
  • Apollonia
  • Lake Skadar
  • Gjirokaster

Bosnia and Herzegovina

The next stop in Southern Europe is Bosnia and Herzegovina. Bosnia and Herzegovina is located south of Croatia. It’s right by the Adriatic Sea, but is actually blocked from being a coastal country by a tiny slice of Croatia.

Even though Bosnia and Herzegovina isn’t on the coast, it’s an absolutely beautiful country with some really charming towns. It’s a really great country for a road trip as there’s a lot to see and do!

Fly into: Sarajevo

Recommended Trip Length: 5-10 days

–Bucket List Destinations in Bosnia and Herzegovina–

  • Sarajevo
  • Mostar
  • Banja Luka
  • Konjic
  • Pocitelj
  • Una National Park
  • Jajce
  • Blagaj
  • Kravice Waterfall
  • Trebinje

Croatia

Croatia is easily one of the best places to visit in Europe. It’s become more and more popular over the last few years and for good reason.

Croatia has a large coastline and lots of little islands right off its coast. It’s super popular to go on a boating trip throughout Croatia because of all the incredible places to see on the water. However, Croatia equally has a ton of incredible landscapes in the interior of the country that should not be missed!

Fly into: Dubrovnik, Zagreb, or Split

Recommended Trip Length: 5-14 days

–Bucket List Destinations in Croatia–

  • Dubrovnik
  • Plitvice Lakes National Park
  • Zadar
  • Korcula
  • Rab Island
  • Mljet Island
  • Split
  • Zagreb
  • Hvar
  • Krka National Park
  • Vis Island
  • Rovinj

Greece

Greece is truly one of the absolute best places to visit in Europe. If it’s not on your Europe bucket list, you need to stop everything you’re doing and add it right now!

Greece is another destination that is full of islands. Honestly most of the best parts in Greece are in the islands! If you have an opportunity to go island hopping in Greece, you have to do it because it’ll be the absolute best way to see this country. Greece is another one of the European giants that you will find yourself returning to time and time again!

Fly into: Athens

Recommended Trip Length: 5-14 days

–Bucket List Destinations in Greece–

  • Athens
  • Corfu
  • Crete
  • Zakynthos
  • Milos
  • Naxos
  • Santorini
  • Mykonos
  • Rhodes
  • Meteora
  • Paros
  • Ios

Italy

Italy is another one of those destinations that really needs no introduction. The amount of incredible places to visit in Italy could go on for pages and pages. I’m going to cover some of the absolute top areas to visit in Italy.

Whether you’re a foodie, a cultural nerd, a cruiser, a nomad, or a tourist at heart, Italy is for you. Italy is one of those places that people can’t stop returning to because of how magical it is. There are so many different areas of Italy to visit and each one has something special about it.

Fly into: Milan, Venice, Rome, or Naples

Recommended Trip Length: 5-14 days

–Bucket List Destinations in Italy–

Malta

Malta is the last of Europe’s microstates to make its way on this European bucket list. It’s the only microstate that’s an island country as well. Malta is often confused to be part of Italy, but it’s actually a country all on its own. The country is comprised of two main islands: Malta and Gozo.

Because Malta is an island country in the Mediterranean, it has some of the most gorgeous coastline in all of Europe. It’s another great country to rent a boat either for a day or for your whole trip and just explore around.

Fly into: Valletta

Recommended Trip Length: 5-10 days

–Bucket List Destinations in Malta–

  • Valletta
  • Gozo
  • Popeye Village
  • Marsaxlokk
  • Mdina
  • Rabat
  • Mellieha
  • St. Julian’s

Montenegro

Montenegro is a little country located in the Balkans on the Adriatic sea nestled between Croatia and Albania. Most people have never heard of Montenegro and most people who have visited only did so because their cruise stopped in Montenegro.

Montenegro is one of the countries I’m most looking forward to visiting in Europe. It’s a tiny little gem surrounded by lots of other more popular countries, but it has so much to offer. It’s a little harder to get to from the USA, but the journey will be worth it! People commonly visit Montenegro on a trip down the Adriatic coasts to other countries like Croatia, Albania, and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Fly into: Podgorica or Dubrovnik, Croatia

Recommended Trip Length: 3-7 days

–Bucket List Destinations in Montenegro–

  • Kotor
  • Lake Skadar
  • Sveti Stefan
  • Durmitor National Park
  • Ostrog Monastery
  • Perast
  • Budva
  • Podgorica

North Macedonia

North Macedonia is the next country on this Europe bucket list. It’s commonly referred to as Macedonia, but it officially changed its name to North Macedonia in 2019 after a naming dispute with Greece.

North Macedonia is a quiet country in tucked in the Balkans of Europe. It has quite a few border neighborhoods, most notably being Greece. It’s a common continuation of a Balkan road trip and definitely deserves some visit time. It’s capital city Skopje is especially great and should definitely be visited!

Fly into: Skopje

Recommended Trip Length: 2-5 days

–Bucket List Destinations in North Macedonia–

  • Skopje
  • Ohrid
  • Kratovo
  • Lake Prespa
  • Mavrovo National Park
  • Radozda
  • Matka
  • Struga

San Marino

San Marino is another one of Europe’s microstates. It’s one of two microstates that exist entirely within Italy. Most people have never heard of San Marino and unless they look really closely on a map, would probably think it’s just a city in Italy.

Due to how small San Marino is, most people visit as a day trip from another part of Italy. The closest major city in Italy to San Marino is Bologna, but you could manage a day trip from Florence as well. Because of how small San Marino is, I won’t list “destinations” to visit. However, make sure to visit the Three Towers of San Marino (Guaita, Montale, and Cesta).

Fly into: Bologna, Italy

Recommended Trip Length: 1-3 days

Serbia

Serbia is the next country on this European bucket list. Serbia is located right in the center of the Balkans and shares a border with almost every other Balkan country.

Something important to note about Serbia is that there’s a major disputed territory within Serbia, known as Kosovo. I’m going to group both countries together for the purpose of this list, but just know that there’s a disputed territory here. If you’re planning a road trip to Serbia, make sure to do some research on where to enter and exit the country.

Fly into: Belgrade

Recommended Trip Length: 3-7 days

–Bucket List Destinations in Serbia–

  • Belgrade
  • Novi Sad
  • Devil’s Town
  • Fruska Gora National Park
  • Tara National Park
  • Subotica
  • Uvac Special Nature Reserve
  • Zemun

Vatican City

Vatican City is the smallest country in Europe and the last on this Europe bucket list. Vatican City is located wholly inside the city of Rome, Italy and is the home of the Pope. The country is also referred to as Holy See, so if you ever see that you’ll know it refers to Vatican City.

There are less than 1,000 residents in Vatican City so it’s extremely small. You’ll likely visit Vatican City during a visit to Rome. Similarly to San Marino, since it’s typically a day trip, I’m not going to list destinations in Vatican City since that is the destination. Make sure to visit St. Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, and the other Vatican museums during your time in Vatican city.

Fly into: Rome, Italy

Recommended Trip Length: 1 day

Extras For Your European Bucket List

We have come quite a long way and talked about all the best places to visit in Europe. As if your bucket list isn’t long enough by now, I’m going to add 5 more places to it. These countries are Turkey, Cyprus, Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan.

Everywhere in Turkey west of Istanbul is part of Europe. The rest of (and majority of) the country is considered part of Asia, but I think it’s important to mention here. The next country, Cyprus, is considered part of Europe by most people, but is also associated with the Middle East, so it’s a bit of a gray area. The fact that Cyprus is an island and the fact that half of the country is disputed doesn’t help the confusion there.

Lastly, I’m going to mention Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. Technically all 3 countries are part of the Asian continent. However, they’re largely grouped with Europe over Asia so I feel like it’s important to mention them as well.

Cyprus

Cyprus is an island country located in the Mediterranean, just South of Turkey and west of Syria and Lebanon. While it’s technically part of Europe, it’s commonly grouped with the Middle East. About half of Cyprus is occupied by Turkey, which is probably part of the reason it gets associated with both Europe and the Middle East.

All that being said, Cyprus is an incredible and really under the radar destination. It’s located in the Mediterranean Sea, so the coastline is absolutely breathtaking and I highly recommend adding it to your bucket list!

Fly into: Lanarca

Recommended Trip Length: 5-10 days

–Bucket List Destinations in Cyprus–

  • Lanarca
  • Ayia Napa
  • Paphos
  • Pano Lefkara
  • Limassol
  • Nicosia
  • Troodos Mountains
  • Kakopetria

Turkey

Turkey is similar to Russia in that the country exists both on the European and Asian continents. The city of Istanbul is famously split down the middle of the two continents through the Bosporus strait.

Even though the large majority of Turkey is in Asia, Istanbul is considered one of Europe’s great cities, so I can’t leave it out. Plus, I truly think Turkey is one of the best and most underrated countries in the world and is absolutely somewhere that needs to be super high on your bucket list. Similarly to Russia, even though part of Turkey is in Asia, I’m going to list all the best destinations throughout the entire country instead of just focusing on the European part.

Fly into: Istanbul

Recommended Trip Length: 5-14 days

–Bucket List Destinations in Turkey–

  • Istanbul
  • Cappadocia
  • Izmir
  • Marmaris
  • Alanya
  • Fethiye
  • Antalya
  • Bodrum
  • Pamukkale
  • Kusadasi
  • Ankara
  • Ephesus

Georgia

While Georgia is a state in the USA, it’s also a country in the Caucuses. Technically Georgia is in Asia, although it’s commonly grouped with Europe. The Caucuses as a whole are 3 countries that don’t get nearly enough attention.

Georgia is slowly becoming a more popular tourist destination, but has a long way to go to catch up with some of the other giants. If you visit, you’ll likely have a lot more room to breathe because it won’t be bogged down by tourists, making it the perfect place to add to your bucket list! Plus, if you have more time to visit, I would highly recommend renting a car and doing a road trip through the Caucuses.

Fly into: Tbilisi

Recommended Trip Length: 5-10 days

–Bucket List Destinations in Georgia–

  • Tbilisi
  • Batumi
  • Mestia
  • Gergeti Trinity Church
  • Tusheti
  • Mtskheta
  • Svaneti
  • Kutaisi
  • Ananuri
  • Kazbegi

Armenia

Armenia is a country that a lot of people know of, but know nothing about (thanks to the Kardashians). Trust me, there is way more to this beautiful little country than the Kardashians.

Armenia is nestled between Turkey, Georgia, and Azerbaijan. It’s the smallest country in the Caucuses, but is the perfect addition to a road trip through this region of the world.

Fly into: Yerevan

Recommended Trip Length: 3-7 days

–Bucket List Destinations in Armenia–

  • Yerevan
  • Lake Sevan
  • Garni
  • Sevanavank
  • Mount Aragats
  • Dilijan National Park
  • Haghartsin Monastery
  • Tatev

Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan is the final country in this Europe bucket list and the final of the 3 Caucus countries. Its capital city, Baku, is commonly visited by tourists, but I rarely hear people talk about the rest of the country.

I keep mentioning a Caucuses road trip, but it’s because this is the perfect area to do it. Between Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan, there are so many places to see that it’s absolutely best to visit by renting a car and exploring around.

Fly into: Baku

Recommended Trip Length: 5-10 days

–Bucket List Destinations in Azerbaijan–

  • Baku
  • Caspian Sea
  • Lake Goygol
  • Lahic
  • Qobustan
  • Sheki
  • Quba
  • Ganja
  • Nakhchivan
  • Naftalan

Pin me to Pinterest!!!! ⤵

Stean

Friday 15th of May 2020

When you read this article you feel like travelling immediately. You have written great work. I love reading this. thank you

Maddie

Sunday 17th of May 2020

That makes me so happy to hear!! I'm so glad you loved it. I put a lot into the article and was hoping exactly what you said would happen when people read it. :-D

Taylor

Saturday 2nd of May 2020

This is such a great bucket list Maddie! I am grateful to have visited most Western European countries. I definitely need to see more Eastern European countries along with Scandinavian countries. :)

Maddie

Monday 4th of May 2020

It's crazy when you look at all the places there are in Europe. It's so easy to feel like you've seen it all, but there's so much to see you'd never think of!

Sarah | Travel for a Living

Saturday 2nd of May 2020

What a great bucket list. Although I’ve been to a lot of these places already, there is still heaps to see. And done of those cities and countries I really want to revisit and explore more. Thanks for feeding my wanderlust.

Maddie

Monday 4th of May 2020

I still have a lot left to see too!! Makes me excited to get traveling again. Glad you enjoyed it! :)

Sarah Barthet

Saturday 2nd of May 2020

Super list! So many places I have yet to visit! x

Maddie

Monday 4th of May 2020

Hopefully you can see some more soon! Glad you love the list!!

Jasmine

Sunday 26th of April 2020

Okay, this post is seriously awesome! I love all of the photography and your content is amazing! Saving this!!

Maddie

Sunday 26th of April 2020

So glad you love it! Hope you found some new places to add to your bucket list!! :)