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The Ultimate Europe Bucket List
South Europe bucket list destinations
Zakynthos, Shipwreck BayGo island hopping in Greece and visit Shipreck Bay in Zakynthos. Shipwreck Bay is best viewed from the cliffs opposite, this is truly one of the most stunning beaches I have been lucky enough to visit. It was so beautiful that I made the 2-hour journey to visit it twice in 1 week!The stunning azure ocean glistening in the sun, the white sandy beach complete with rusty shipwreck for added character and the dramatic cliffs rising majestically from the ocean. Together it makes the most dramatic beautiful scene that is worth travelling for.You can visit the beach itself by arranging a boat trip and whilst it was really lovely there, it got crowded and the views are actually much better from higher up. If you have time, see it from both perspectives! The walk out to this viewpoint in this picture can be a little hair raising at times so best only attempted by the fit and sure-footed!There are viewpoints which are safer to reach which give you a reasonable view but you’ll need to go a little further out onto the cliffs to get pictures like this. Please take care and don’t rush. Always wear sturdy shoes, preferably walking boots. I do not recommend attempting it in flip flops!Hey, if you want to read about my disastrous attempt to get to Shipwreck bay and have a laugh at my expense, you should check out my travel fails and hilarious stories post!
Favignana, ItalyThis is an absolute gem that you’ve probably never heard of. This tiny island just off the coast of Sicily is one of my favourite places in Europe. You can hire a bike and cycle the full island in one day stopping off at picture-perfect beaches. The water at Favignana is a crystal clear azure colour like you might only expect to see in the Caribbean!
The Lake District, EnglandOften overlooked by visitors to the UK who instead focus on London and the surrounding countryside. But the Lake District is beautiful and in my opinion should be on everyone’s Europe bucket list!The rambling hills, evergreen forests, pretty lakes and rivers are beautiful but what gives the lake district it’s unrivalled charm is the quaint lake-side villages filled with cafes, outdoor clothing shops and gift shops to while away several hours.If you get a chance, visit Grasmere. There is a unique and tiny shop which sells Grasmere gingerbread which is well worth a visit! Grasmere gingerbread is a secret recipe, somewhere between a biscuit and a cake, it has been talked about amongst celebrity chefs such as Jamie Oliver! The business is still thriving over 160 years later and I always make it my goal to visit there and stock up on gingerbread whenever I am in the area!If you do go to Grasmere, consider staying at the Rothnay garden hotel. They have the nicest spa inside a conservatory – it was so nice sitting in the jacuzzi overlooking the stunning lake district scenery!
Snowy Lapland, FinlandNot somewhere I’ve personally been but most definitely on my Europe bucket list! Lapland is a snowy winter wonderland for around 6 months of the year. Let your inner child roam free and visit Santa Claus year-round. Take a husky ride, go skiing, take a wintery walk in the forests, take a million photos and search for the northern lights come night time.
The Golden Circle, IcelandSpectacular scenery awaits you in Iceland including waterfalls, crater lakes and geysers! A 300km road trip allows you to see a lot of the natural highlights in the Golden circle region. Best achieved by hiring a car allowing you to dodge the crowds and take your time stopping and soaking up the incredible views!Click here ➡️ for Iceland Travel Tips and click here ➡️ for Iceland Ring Road Itinerary
Top tip! Before you go to Iceland, you will want to make sure you have a decent camera as it is photography HEAVEN! Here is the photography kit that I use;
Sony A7iii – this camera is full-frame so takes professional standard photos but it lighter than your average pro DSLR. Before this, I had a Nikon D5500 which was great for beginner photography.
Polarising filter – cuts reflection and boosts colours in landscape shots
London, UKOnly this weekend, I was having a conversation with a seasoned traveller about why London is still his favourite city even though he’s travelled extensively and visited many cities worldwide. We agreed London is one of the most quirky and diverse capital cities either of us had visited. There is never a shortage of non-touristy things to do in London. I’ve just discovered a bus tour you can do covering all the highlights, whilst having afternoon tea! Read about it here.Also, consider taking a Christmas getaway to London when it is transformed into a winter wonderland!
Lofoten Islands, NorwayThis stunning archipelago in Norway is actually within the arctic circle but due to a warm gulf stream, it’s climate is milder than you’d expect. There’s an abundance of activities on offer including kayaking, fishing, wildlife watching, hiking and even scuba diving or go back in history at the Viking museum!
The Cotswolds, EnglandThe Cotswolds are another great English highlight. The rambling hills and picture-perfect towns and villages with cute cottages like these. You may even find a thatched roof or two. Take a Cotswolds road trip, go hiking in the surrounding countryside and spend your evenings sat by a roaring fire in a local pub.
Copenhagen, DenmarkIf you can afford the price tag, Copenhagen is worth adding to your Europe bucket list! The scandi chic design influences, vibrant colours, clean waterways make it a great city to visit. Copenhagen is also a great place to visit in the winter – check out this guide to Christmas markets in Copenhagen!
Brighton, EnglandBrighton feels like the happiest place on earth. With the fairground on old-fashioned quintessentially British pier, a zip line on the beach, a Taj-mahal themed play palace and quirky attractions like a ghost tour and glow in the dark crazy golf! Brighton is another of my absolute favourite places in Europe!
Central and Eastern Europe Bucket List Destinations
Budapest, HungaryDefinitely one of my favourite places for a girls’ weekend away in Europe – I had the most amazing time there with my friend Emma. Now whilst we didn’t have enough time to see all the typical tourist hot spots in Budapest like visit Castle Hill, the parliament buildings or St Stephens Basilica, we had a packed weekend!Our Favourite thing to do in Budapest was to explore the beautiful spas especially the beautiful Széchenyi Spa – 17 thermal pools and in the grandest neo-baroque building built in 1927. There are lots of smaller baths indoors where you can choose the temperature you are comfortable with or visit the large outdoor pool. We stayed until it went dark and enjoyed the experience sitting in the warm pool outdoor with steam rising around us whilst the beautiful building was lit up with twinkling lights! Consider getting an upgraded package which allows you access to a lovely chillout area where you can read your book in a hammock whilst awaiting your massage!Aside from spending most of our time in the spa, we also took a guided tour of the Opera house, visited some markets, ate our body weight in goulash and found a pinball museum which was super fun!In the evenings, we headed out to ruin bars. These quirky bars are found all over Budapest in what were previously abandoned warehouses, now packed with the weird and wacky from flying silver pigs to bikes suspended from ceilings. You can even sit in an old convertible car whilst you enjoy your cocktail!
Lake Bled, SloveniaVisit the postcard-perfect Lake Bled in Slovenia where a little church on an inlet is framed by the bright blue glacial lake and snow-capped mountains in the distance. It’s an easy day trip from Ljubljana. For more tips about Ljubljana, see my Ljubljana locals guide.
Prague, Czech RepublicSteeped in history and culture, the charming city of Prague definitely deserves its place on this Europe bucket list! Take a river cruise, find a great vantage point to take photos of the beautiful red-roofed city or browse the many attractions within the castle walls. The best bit? It’ll be an absolute bargain!Read more | A 3 Day Prague Itinerary.
Go Skiing in BulgariaThere are some great places to go skiing in Europe – especially in the French and Austrian Alps. But personally, I would recommend Bulgaria. It’s a lot cheaper than other European countries but with a good range of slopes and a lively apres ski. Check out my review of Borovets Ski resort!
Visit Castle Pele, RomaniaTransport yourself to a world with Count Dracula at large by visiting this neo-renaissance castle in Sinaia, 77km from Bucharest. Set in the Carpathian mountains and surrounded by forest, it really is like entering the pages of a storybook. Whilst you are there visit the smaller but equally alluring Pelisor castle, a nearby monastery and then get the gondola up to a vantage point and hike back down!
Mostar, Bosnia and HerzegovinaThis charming town with its iconic bridge, azure river and delightfully chaotic markets along cobbled alleys are well worth a visit. Though prepare to be saddened by all the stark evidence of a previous war with bullet holes spattered across most of the buildings in the centre. Even the Old bridge had to be rebuilt following the war, which is the main attraction for tourists mostly visiting from neighbouring Croatia.
Western Europe Bucket List Destinations
Jungfrau, SwitzerlandThe highest railway station in Europe at 3454 M, the views here are just incredible! Walk out onto platforms and admire the breathtaking rugged snowy mountain scenery then explore the ice sculptures at the ice palace. A little heads up though, food at the top is pretty pricey but the views are worth it..!
Paris, FranceAs Audrey Hepburn once said, “Paris is always a good idea.” (read more inspirational travel quotes here.)You couldn’t write a Europe bucket list without including Paris. The city of romance, culture, food, fashion… There really is something for everyone. Paris is the sort of city where you should take your time, not rush from one attraction to the other. Because the real beauty of Paris is in day-to-day life. So find a little patisserie, take a seat and watch the world go by! See my detailed Paris guide written by a local for more tips or if you want to try some quirky things in Paris, check out this Unique Paris guide.
Giethoorn, The NetherlandsMost people head straight for Amsterdam but actually, there are some great places to visit in The Netherlands outside of the cities! Like Giethoorn, the mini Venice of The Netherlands. Here there are no cars, only boats so it is serene and peaceful. The best way to explore is to take a canal cruise through the picturesque town. Read this article for other things to do in Giethoorn.
South of FrancePrepare to relax in the South of France. Ramshackle towns and villages, cobbled alleys, French patisseries, vibrant street markets selling the freshest of ingredients. Spend your time basking in the French sunshine, browsing the local towns and enjoying the local wineries. I stayed a Gite La Fleurieu in Puy-L’Évêque in the mid-Pyrenees on a food and wine weekend. The countryside gite with its swimming pool looking out onto nothing but rolling hills was an amazing place to stay. The food and drink amazing – we even had a wine lesson at the gite! You can read about it here.
Rotterdam, The NetherlandsWhilst Amsterdam is on many people’s Europe bucket lists, Rotterdam is often overlooked. But that is such a shame as it is a brilliant city in its own right. Completely different from Amsterdam – much more modern. Rotterdam is famous for its architecture such as these cute yellow cube houses! They also have great nightlife and a great market hall with amazing food for those foodies out there!
Get more Europe Travel Destination Inspiration!I love this book for travel inspiration because it not only tells you what is realistically achievable in one weekend trip but it also includes some quirkier options rather than all the typical, obvious activities and tours! It’s one of my absolute fave coffee-table books!
So, have I managed to inspire you to plan a trip to Europe? If so take a look at the resources below to help you plan a cheap and safe holiday to Europe. What is on YOUR Europe bucket list? Do you have any other suggestions? If so, we’d love to hear from you! Please comment below!
If you’re still looking for more Europe travel inspiration, you may like these articlesThe best cities breaks for couples in Europe12 Beautiful English countryside getaways25 worldwide adventure bucket list experiencesIf you are looking for cheap flights to Europe, check out my Guide to getting bargain flights.If it’s the accommodation you’re searching for, first check out my Airbnb hacks (and free Airbnb coupon.)Or need help packing, here’s my backpacking essentials list.If you are looking for a tour in Europe, I wholeheartedly recommend G Adventures and Intrepid Travel who I have travelled with multiple times previously.
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