21 Incredible Places in Europe (that aren’t London or Paris)

It’s that time of year again when people are dreaming about everything from vacation days to weekend getaways. As always, Europe is a natural top choice when it comes to planning the trip of lifetime. We could go on for days and days about the beauty of this magical continent but we thought that instead of telling you about it, we could show you…

1. Isle of Skye, Scotland

Isle-of-Skye-Scotland

Photo credit: Mike Stephen

The Isle of Skye is the largest and most northerly island of the Inter Hebrides, Highland, Scotland. The economy is supported by sheep and cattle raising, wool weaving, whisky distilling (cheers!) and fishing.

 2. Himara Beach, Albania

Himara-Beach-Albania

Photo credit: Sarah Tz

The meeting place of both the Adriatic and Ionian seas, these beaches are considered unspoiled by mass travel. Should you find yourself on these Albanian beaches you can expect rolling hills covered in olive groves, grilled meats and cold beers to welcome you and your appetite.

 3. Dubrovnik, Croatia

Dubrovnik-Croatia

Photo credit: Victor Gonzalez

Dubrovnik is a city in southern Croatia that faces the Adriatic sea. The city is surrounded by massive stone walls that have been standing strong since the 16th century. You can find everything from baroque churches to gothic palaces — just make sure to tread carefully on the slippery limestone streets.

4. Vienna, Austria

Vienna-Austria

Photo credit: Abariltur

Vienna has everything from an energetic nightlife to a vibrant legacy of arts & culture. You can thank the Viennese for inspiring many famous musicians and philosophers and even Ferdinand Porsche, founder of…you guessed it: Porsche.

5. Zurich, Switzerland

Zurich-Switzerland

Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland and is a hub for the railways, roads and air traffic throughout Europe. This dazzling architecturally-impressive city boasts 1200 different fountains and Europe’s largest clock face!

6. Vesteralen, Norway

Vesteralen-Norway

Photo credit: Martin de Lusenet

The landscapes of Vesteralen range from peaceful beaches to rugged mountains to calming farmlands. This destination is perfect for active travellers who love hiking. To experience the coastline fully, follow the National Tourist Route at Andøya and get ready to take in the breathtaking midnight sun or northern lights.

 7. Callanish Stones, Scotland

Callanish-Stones-Scotland

Photo credit: Chris Combe

There’s plenty of reasons to visit Scotland but none quite as magically enticing as this. The Callanish Stones are said to hold ancient powers that supposedly allow us to communicate with our ancestors. Just ask everyone’s favourite “impossible couple” Claire and Jamie Fraser.

8. Santorini, Greece

Santorini-Greece

Santorini is one of the Cyclades islands in the Aegean Sea and gets its unique rugged landscape from a 16th century volcanic eruption. The beaches of this beautiful Greek island are made up of black, red and white lava pebbles. Apparently Santorini is also growing its reputation as the ultimate wedding destination so that’s something to consider once you’ve grown tired of looking at banquet halls for your big day.

9. Granada, Spain

Granada-Spain

Photo credit: Sanshoot

The City of Granada is in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains in Andalucia. The sprawling hilltop fortress has everything from royal palaces to beautiful reflecting pools. If you pay this medieval city a visit you’ll enjoy some of the best views from a patio you might ever experience.

10. Western Finland

You have plenty of forest to choose from when you head over to Finland — over 65% of the country’s total land area is covered in pine, fir and birch trees. The Finnish consider the forest a second home (probably because it’s everywhere) so you can only imagine what peak fall foliage looks like over there! Head over during autumn to enjoy delicious mushrooms, berries and of course, fresh fall air!

11. Dusseldorf, Germany

Dusseldorf-Germany

Photo credit: Sebastian Dooris

Dusseldorf is in western Germany and is best known for its fashion industry and art scene. The city is divided by the Rhine River and has plenty of cobblestone streets and fantastic speciality museums to indulge your sophisticated side.

12. Murren, Switzerland

Murren-Switzerland

Photo credit: Felix Haller

Murren is a traditional Walser mountain village at an elevation of 1650 metres above sea level and is actually completely unreachable by public road. If you’re hoping to enjoy truly breathtaking, inspiring vistas in a quiet sleepy town then head to Murren! The population is a staggering 450 and the village has one school.

13. Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany

Neuschwanstein-Castle

Photo credit: xlibber 

If you’ve ever seen Beauty and the Beast you should recognize this beautiful architectural feat. The castle is a nineteenth-century Romanesque Revival palace on a rugged hill above the village of Hohenschwangau in southwest Bavaria, Germany. The palace was commissioned by Ludwig II of Bavaria as a homage to composer Richard Wagner.

 14. Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen, Denmark

Tivoli-Gardens-Copenhagen-Denmark

Photo credit: Joe deSousa

Copenhagen, Denmark’s capital, is a popular destination for both architecture lovers and pastry-enthusiasts. The city is similar to Venice, Italy in that it hosts its own network of canals and waterways. Tivoli Gardens is a famous amusement park and pleasure garden and it considered the second-oldest operating amusement park in the world, having opened August 15th 1843.

 15. Corinth Canal, Greece

Corinth-Canal-Greece

Photo credit: Hans Johnson

The Corinth Canal connects the Gulf of Corinth with the Saronic Gulf in the Aegean Sea. Construction began in 1881 but like any major infrastructure endeavour…it had its problems (both geographical and financial). It was completed in 1893 but was too narrow and often plagued with landslides so it never attracted the level of traffic Greece was hoping for. These days this canal is mostly enjoyed by travellers!

16. Barcelona, Spain

Gaudi-Architecture-Barcelona-Spain

Photo credit: David Berkowitz

Thanks to the creative vision of the famous Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi, Barcelona is home to some of the most unique pieces of art around the world. To say Gaudi’s influence on Spanish tourism was generous would be an understatement. His magnum opus, the Sagrada Familia is the most visited monument in Spain and seven of his works have been declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Did we also say tapas?

17. St. Stephen’s Dome, Budapest, Hungary

St-Stephens-Dome-Budapest

Photo credit: Thomas Depenbusch

The Roman Catholic church, St. Stephen’s Basilica in Budapest is named in honour of the first King of Hungary. The building is the third largest church in modern Hungary but you’ll only be able to visit it if you can tear yourself away from the countless thermal baths littered throughout this romantic European city.

18. Salt Pans, Malta

Salt-Pans-Malta

Photo credit: Mandy

Who doesn’t love a little sea salt on their french fries? Well, make sure to address your thank-you letter to Malta. The production of sea salt has a long-standing history in this area and its salt pans are still used today. Wake up early to enjoy stunning views of the salt being collected as it sparkles under the sunrise.

19. Lake Garda, Italy

Lake-Garda-Italy

Photo credit:Davide Zampatti

Lake Garda is the largest lake in Italy and is a very popular holiday destination situated between Venice and Milan. You can enjoy everything from impressive flower gardens, hang-gliding, paragliding, windsurfing, mountain biking and of course swimming.

20. Jurmala, Jzrmala, Latvia

Jurmala-Jzrmala-Latvia

Photo credit: Eduards Pulks

When Latvia was part of the Soviet Union, Jumala was a very popular vacation spot for high-ranking Communist Party officials. Visitors these days can enjoy quaint beachside views and romantic wooden houses in the Art Nouveau style.

21. Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon-Portugal

Photo credit: Nelson Lourenco

Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, is a hilly coastal city know for its soulful music and laid-back cafe culture. Of course you’ll have to visit the beaches while snacking on some Pastéis de Nata but there’s enough to do for more than one visit. You can explore everything from the underground Roman crypt galleries to the award winning Church of Santa Engracia.