You will find some quite popular capital cities in Europe, such as Berlin, London, Paris, Amsterdam, Madrid, Rome, Prague, Stockholm and Vienna, to name just a few. This article mentions the best cities to visit in Europe and the things to do there.
The world’s smallest and most visited continent Europe is known for its cultural heritage, spectacular scenery, music, nightlife, art and delicious food. If you are someone who believes in the healing properties of retail therapy or cares about the latest fashion trends, travelling to Europe is your cup of tea. From designer shops, malls to flea markets, you can shop in Europe till you drop. Make sure you try the classic English Breakfast (bacon and eggs), Waffles, Pizza (from Italy of course), French Crepes, Banista and Pierogi (potato or cheese-filled dumplings) during your visit to Europe.
However, here is a list of the must visit places in Europe at least once, to have an authentic and enriching European travel experience:
Amongst the largest cities of Europe, Paris is considered the global centre for art and fashion. This capital city of France is located along the Seine River. It has the well-suited reputation of being the most romantic and beautiful cities in Europe. Known as the “City of Light” la Ville Lumière and the “capital of Fashion” Paris is home to many luxurious fashion designers and cosmetics that are bound to take your breath away – such as Chanel, L’Oreal, Dior and so on. It is one of the most popular and the best cities to visit in Europe.
Here are a few places you need to visit if you find yourself in Paris:
- The Eiffel Tower
- Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris
- Palais Garnier, Opéra National de Paris (an opera house designed by Napoleon III in 1860)
- Arc de Triomphe
- Seine River cruises
- The Luxembourg Gardens
What to Buy in Paris?
- Wine- It is the most consumed alcohol in France and is produced in all the regions. Do try a wine and take a few bottles back home as well!
- French Scarves- Scarves are a fashionable accessory, and in Paris, you will find a wide variety of these.
- A Louis Vuitton Bag – You will definitely consider buying a bag from the world-famous brand Louis Viton in Paris.
DID YOU KNOW: Rachel Green from our beloved TV show Friends was offered a job at Louis Vuitton. So now you know what all the hoopla is about!
- An Eiffel Tower Replica- It is probably the most cliché souvenir you can ever get from Paris. You can easily find these replicas all over this magical city.
- Best Dishes to Try in Paris
Best Dishes to Try in Paris
One of the most charismatic cities in Europe, we all have heard about Rome thanks to the saying “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Staying true to its heritage, unlike many parts of the world, this city offers a blend of its haunting ruins, vibrant streets fraught with culture.
Here are a few places you cannot miss while in Rome:
- Colosseum (Amphitheatre)
- St. Peter’s Basilica church (Built-in renaissance style)
- Trevi Fountain
- The Roman Forum (plaza)
- Santa Maria Maggiore (Church)
- The Palatine Hill
Suggested Read: Churches in Rome – Explore Roman Architecture at It’s Best
What to Buy in Rome?
- Engraved Marble Tables: The typography on these marble tables reminisces ancient script. You can buy Marble tablets with Italian or Latin inscriptions and can also get them customized.
- Jewellery: Jewellery in Rome have unique designs inspired by Roman architecture.
- Italian Meat and Cheeses: You cannot walk out of Rome without buying quality meats, cheeses and other delicacies.
- Handmade Chocolates: Taking chocolates back home is common; however, Roman chocolates are exotic and are handmade following the traditional recipes that date back to the 19th century.
Best Dishes to Try in Rome
- Roman-style Pizza
- Rigatoni Carbonara
- Suppli (A fried snack made with rice, meat, tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese)
Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands, known for its architectural heritage, its intricate canal network and its narrow houses with gabled facades and legacies from the Golden Age of the city in the 17th century.
Here are the most popular sites you need to visit while in Amsterdam:
- Van Gogh Museum
- Anne Frank’s House
- Dam Square
- The Royal Palace (formerly the town hall)
What to Buy in Amsterdam?
- Tulip seeds: You too can plant tulips in your garden. Make sure you buy them from Amsterdam’s main flower market, De Bloemenmarkt.
- Beer: You can buy light, dark or seasonal beers from Amsterdam.
- HEMA Stationery: The Dutch chain-store, HEMA, also keeps prices reasonable in the city, which means tourists with keen eyes can pick up trendy Dutch design products without emptying their pockets.
Best Dishes to Try in Amsterdam
- Dutch Fries (Patat)
- Oliebollen (Deep fried sweet dumplings)
- Poffertjes (a type of pancake)
- Ontbijtkoek (Tea time ginger-cake)
- Dutch liquorice
When we think of Europe, we think of London. The capital city of Europe is the oldest city known for its magnificent ancient buildings and palaces. It occupies the 26th rank out of 300 major cities in terms of economic development. It is also the first city which hosted three games of the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Here are the top-rated attractions you need to visit while in London:
- Tower of London
- Tower Bridge (Iconic Victorian turreted bridge)
- Buckingham Palace
- The British Museum
- The Victoria and Albert Museum
- Trafalgar Square
What to Buy in London?
- An Umbrella: You should buy an umbrella from James Smith and sons, a shop solely dedicated to selling umbrellas in London since 1830.
- Twinings Tea: The best souvenir you can pick up from London is Twinings tea.
- Harry Potter Merchandise: Are you a Potterhead? Remember to pick up a good collection of Harry Potter Merchandise in London.
- Fabric: Regent Street is the most popular shopping destination in London, with high-end department stores and busy individual boutiques. Liberty London is renowned for its fashion, beauty and homeware collections, and is famous for its range of exquisite fabrics.
Best Dishes to Try in London
- Bacon Naan-roll
- Fish and chips
- Yorkshire pudding
- Roast Beef
The 14th largest city in Europe, Prague, is the capital city of the Czech Republic. It is also called “the City of a Hundred Spires”. It is renowned for its Old Town Square, with its vibrant baroque architecture, Gothic churches and medieval Astronomical Clock, which offers an interactive hourly spectacle. It is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe to visit.
Must Read: 3 Ways to Enjoy Prague Nightlife
Here are a few places you need to visit at least once, while in Prague:
- The iconic 14th century Charles Bridge
- Prague Castle
- The Old Town Square
- St. Vitus Cathedral
- The National Museum
- Josefov: The Jewish Quarter
What to Buy in Prague?
- Natural Cosmetic products: the Czech Republic is known for being a large producer of natural cosmetic products. From beef infused cosmetics to plant-based organic cosmetics, you can find them all in Prague.
- Czech marionettes or puppets: An ideal gift for kids are the hand-crafted Czech Marionettes. You can also attend a Marionette Workshop to learn how these puppets are made.
- Bohemia Glass: This hand-cut and elaborately engraved glass are absolutely mesmerizing and a perfect high-end gift from Prague.
- Anything lace: Popular among both tourists and locals, Czech bobbin lace is being produced for over 400 years in Prague. You can find table cloths, dress accessories, lace pieces and even Christmas lace decorations in Prague.
Best Dishes to Try in Prague
- Open Sandwich
- Trdelník (chimney cake)
- Palačinky (Czech pancakes)
- Svíčková (braised beef) with dumplings.
- Pork knuckle
Located in the Veneto region of Italy, Venice is a unique city which does not rely on roads for transportation but uses canals and waterways to go from one end of the city to another. Visiting Venice during summers is an excellent decision as the city is the most Vibrant from the beginning and end of July. It is one of the best Europe tourist places to visit.
Here are a few places you have to visit while in Venice:
- Doge’s Palace (Gothic style museum/palace)
- St. Mark’s Square
- Rialto Bridge
- Grand Canal
- Museum of Glass
What to Buy in Venice?
- Masks: You will find masks being sold in almost every street in Venice. Make sure you buy the original Venetian Mask. The price of these masks falls in the range of 20 EUR to 2,000 EUR per mask.
- Gondolier’s Hat: This hat is made of straw and protects the head from the heat by maintaining a cold temperature around the head. They are comfortable to wear, easy to maintain and a great souvenir to bring back for your friends or family.
- Murano Glass: Named after the island of Murano, these glass vases and figurines are a great souvenir to take back home from Venice.
Best Dishes to Try in Venice
- Fritto Misto (deep-fried seafood)
- Frittelle (Donuts stuffed with cream, raisins and candied orange peel)
- Baccalà Mantecato (Dried and Creamed Stockfish)
- Tramezzino (a Triangular Sandwich)
- Sfogliatine and Buranelli (Venetian Cookies)
The capital city of Hungary, Budapest is the most populous and the tenth-largest city in Europe. It is also Hungary’s financial centre. Popular attractions in Budapest range from stunning architecture and nostalgic reminiscences of 20th-century history to its lively cultural and entertainment scene, with everything from street buskers to iconic concerts in beautiful churches.
Here are a few places you have to visit while in Budapest:
- Buda Castle
- Széchenyi Chain Bridge
- Hungarian Parliament Building
- Danube River Cruises
- Pinball Museum
- Budapest Chocolate museum
What to Buy in Budapest?
- Porcelain: The traditional Hungarian porcelain has been used by royals, especially Queen Victoria. Porcelain is inexpensive in Budapest, and you can find beautiful porcelain teacups, plates and bowls here.
- Painted Eggs: We all have heard about Easter eggs, you can find these beautifully decorated eggs in Budapest in almost all gift shops or stalls.
- Hungarian Shirts: You can add a little more spice to your wardrobe by bringing home Hungarian shirts from Budapest. They have beautiful designs embroidered on them and are great to wear for special occasions.
- Hungarian Secret Box: These jewellery boxes are quite tricky to open as you may have to first find the key by sliding open secret panels.
Best Dishes to Try in Budapest
- Chicken Paprikash
- Jókai Bean Soup
- Cabbage roll
- Esterházy torta (Hungarian Cake)
- palacsinta (Hungarian crepes)
With a population between 12 and 19 million, Istanbul is undoubtedly the most populous city in Turkey. It was formerly known as Byzantium and Constantinople. Bisecting Asia and Europe across the vast Bosphorus Strait, Istanbul is a large city in Turkey that is known for its rich history and culture, its spectacular landscapes, its majestic structures and its many facets.
Here are a few places you need to visit while in Istanbul:
- Hagia Sophia Museum
- The Blue Mosque
- The Grand Bazaar
- Topkapi Palace Museum
- Galata Tower
- Dolmabahçe Palace
What to Buy in Istanbul?
- Hand-painted Ceramics: In an attempt to imitate the Chinese pottery, the Turkish came up with their own hand-painted and vibrant Turkish ceramics. These ceramic plates can be bought from Grand Bazaar, Sultanahmet, Spice Market and Istiklal Caddesi.
- Ottoman Jewellery: If you believe in giving unique and quirky gifts, Ottoman jewellery would be a great option.
- Turkish Sweets: We all have heard about Turkish delight thanks to Chronicles of Narnia. It is known as Lokum in Turkey and is available in many flavours such as rose, almonds, and so on.
- Olive oil soaps: Soaps made with high-quality olive oil and other botanical extracts are great for all skin types and of course not too harsh on the skin.
Best Dishes to Try in Istanbul
- Turkish Tea/Coffee
- Menemen (Scrambled eggs)
- Lahmacun (Turkish Pizza)
- Simit (Turkish Bagel)
- Lahmacun (Turkish Pizza)
Berlin is mainly known for its historical connections such as the German capital, internationalism and democracy, vibrant nightlife, its cafés, pubs, bars, street art and various museums, palaces and other historical sites. The architecture of Berlin is relatively varied. Though badly damaged during the final years of the Second World War and torn apart during the Cold War, Berlin has restored itself today and is the most populated city in Germany.
Here are a few places you need to visit when in Berlin:
- Brandenburg Gate
- Reichstag Building
- East Side Gallery
- Berlin Wall Memorial
- Berlin Cathedral
- Berliner Fernsehturm (368 meters tall tower opened in 1969)
What to Buy in Berlin?
- Berlin Belts: You can buy Organic and top quality leather belts from Berlin; these belts usually fall in the price range to 60 EUR to 120 EUR.
- Frau Toni’s perfumes: Grab a bottle of Frau Toni’s perfumes that is Berlin’s signature. The price of these perfumes begins from 22 EUR.
- Berlin Buddy Bear: Buddy bear is essentially the bear we can find on the flag of Berlin. These human-hand size Buddy bears are great souvenirs.
- A Piece of the Berlin Wall: Would you fancy an original fragment of the Berlin Wall? You can purchase them at Mauermuseum Checkpoint Charlie. Here’s something you should know – they hope to use the proceeds to maintain and enhance the museum!
Also Read: 8 Best Indian Restaurants in Berlin
Best Dishes to Try in Berlin
- Currywurst (Sausage)
- Spätzle (German Pasta)
- Eisbein (Pork Knuckles)
- Döner Kebab (A wrap of meat and salad)
- Marble Cake
- Plum cake
Travelling to Europe is everyone’s dream as it is beautiful, would not burn a hole in your pocket and very exciting if you decide to travel with your group of friends and family. Today, the Eurail enables tourists to travel from one corner to another as it is well connected, safe and links 28 countries together!