Europe offers a seriously impressive mix of travel experiences and adventures. From countless city breaks and urban climes to the spectacular beauty of snow-capped mountains. Choose from hot climates and sandy beaches, or wrap up warm and bring out your inner explorer in the Arctic Circle.
With so much choice and variety, it has been both a challenge and a pleasure to put together the ultimate Europe travel bucket list. Using inspiration from my favourite Instagram travel accounts, this bucket list covers a diverse range of destinations and adventures. I’m now bursting with wanderlust and I hope you will be too.
#1 Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort, Finland
Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort is bound to be an unforgettable winter getaway. Stay in the famous glass igloos and sleep under the stars. Gasp in awe as the Northern Lights dance above you.
Spend your days trying new winter activities – from husky and reindeer safaris to cross-country skiing and icebreaker cruises. With your lungs full of fresh winter air and your cheeks rosy from the chill, it’s time to cosy up in your log cabin or igloo.
It’s the stuff of dreams. The snowy, wintery kind of dreams.
#2 Bavaria, Germany
One of Germany’s most popular travel destinations, Bavaria offers breathtaking nature and unique local culture. From snow-capped mountains and crystal clear lakes to medieval riverside towns and mystical forests, Bavaria is a treasure trove of enticing attractions.
Take a long walk through the stunning scenery of the Bavarian countryside. Relax and recharge in a contemporary wellness resort. Or soak up the diverse heritage and rich local culture. There is plenty to do and see, whether you’re a solo traveller, couple, or family.
Bavaria is also home to the fairytale Neuschwanstein Castle. A nineteenth century Romanesque Revival palace perched on a rugged cliff, it’s not one to be missed.
#3 Barcelona, Spain
The cosmopolitan capital of Spain’s Catalonia region, Barcelona should be high on your European city bucket list. Renowned for its impressive art and architecture, it’s the perfect place for some stunning sightseeing.
A hub of trend-setting culture, fashion and cuisine, it combines the charm of the old town with the avant-garde feel of the modern neighbourhoods. From famous sites to culinary delights – and not to mention the beautiful views over the Mediterraean Sea – there is plenty to keep visitors occupied time and time again.
#4 Venice, Italy
A city as unique as Venice could not be missed off the ultimate Europe bucket list. Built on the waters of the Adriatic Sea and with no cars or other modes of transport, it’s a very special place. Combine winding canals with truly stunning architecture and it’s easy to see why Venice attracts so many visitors.
Indulge in some romance with a gondola ride, or simply hop from restaurant to restaurant inhaling all the mouthwatering pasta you can muster. There’s plenty to see and do in Venice – just meandering around the winding streets on foot is enough. It’s a picture-perfect Italian city.
#5 Zermatt, Switzerland
When you picture the perfect wintery ski town, it’s likely that it’ll look something like Zermatt in Switzerland. An idyllic village nestled in the Swiss Alps with the imposing but beautiful Matterhorn mountain as a backdrop.
Being car-free, Zermatt retains its original charm and old-fashioned appeal. In the winter, it is the perfect European destination for skiers and snowboarders. Generally considered to be one of the best ski resorts in Switzerland, you’ll be spoilt for choice with runs for all abilities.
In the summer, it is a haven for hikers, mountain bikers and rock climbers. With a range of epic activities for adventure seekers, you’ll never get bored. Soak up the stunning landscapes of the Swiss Alps and it’s easy to see why Zermatt is a dreamy summer destination in Europe.
#6 Cappadocia, Turkey
Located in southern Turkey, Cappadocia is a region known for its distinctive fairytale scenery. With a moon-like landscape, remarkable rock formations and cave dwellings, Cappadocia carries an ethereal beauty.
Witness beautiful sunrises dotted with hot air balloons floating over the historic region. It’s hot and arid but a place like no other to go sightseeing and exploring.
#7 Copenhagen, Denmark
Starting life as a small fishing village, Copenhagen has since developed into one of the best destinations for a European city break. With colourful buildings, winding canals and happy locals, it is a bright and welcoming place.
There are plenty of landmarks to visit, from the beautiful Tivoli Gardens to the Zoological Museum. Denmark is frequently at the top of those ‘happiest countries on earth’ lists and Copenhagen embodies the inviting Scandinavian spirit.
Read my Copenhagen travel guide.
#8 Trolltunga, Norway
Top marks for being the ultimate Instagrammable spot for travel lovers. Trolltunga is a rock formation characterised by the cliff that juts horizontally out from the mountain. Looming 700 metres above Lake Ringedalsvatnet, the view is truly breathtaking.
This is a photo spot you’ll have to work hard for though, as it’s only accessible via a challenging hike. But with the scenic beauty along the route and a pretty stellar view to finish, it’s certainly worth it. Although if heights aren’t your thing, then you may want to admire the view from afar!
#9 Blue Lagoon, Iceland
The Blue Lagoon is a geothermal spa located in a lava field near Reykjavik, Iceland. A bit like taking a giant bright blue bath, it is a wonderfully relaxing retreat. Treat your face to a silica mud mask from the mask bar. Or swim up to the drinks bar and grab a beer or a healthy smoothie.
It’s a must-visit attraction when visiting Iceland – there’s nothing quite like it. Plus, the minerals in the water do wonders for your skin. So you should leave feeling rejuvenated and cleansed.
#10 The Dolomites, Italy
A famous mountain range in Italy, the Dolomites offer impressive ski areas in the winter and stunning hiking options in the summer. The jaw-dropping scenery alone is enough to secure the Dolomites a place on your Europe bucket list.
A playground for adventurers and nature lovers, there is plenty to see and do in these magnificent mountains. Whether you’re a hiker, a mountaineer, a biker, a skier or simply want to revel in the escapism of the mountains.
For a spot of luxury, you’ll find high-end spas to recharge in – for foodies there is a number of Michelin star restaurants to tantalise your tastebuds.
#11 Lake Bled, Slovenia
Slovenia doesn’t always spring to mind when considering a European getaway. But the European country is increasingly gaining recognition for the beautiful Lake Bled, situated in the Julian Alps.
There’s a church on an islet in the centre and a medieval castle perched on the rocky cliff. Surrounded by forests and mountains, it’s about as scenic as lakes get. The pinnacle of outdoor natural beauty.
#12 Cairngorms National Park, Scotland
The largest national park in the UK, Cairngorms offers sweeping scenery and beautiful landscapes. With deserted mountains, expansive forest and icy river valleys, Cairngorms National Park brings an abundance of natural beauty.
Choose from a range of activities, including hiking, climbing and biking. Plus, with significantly less visitors than other National Parks in the UK, it will feel like you’ve got the place to yourself. It’s perfect for an outdoorsy adventure.
#13 Positano, Italy
Situated on Italy’s gorgeous Amalfi Coast, Positano is an unforgettable cliffside village. Characterised by colourful buildings which overlook the turquoise hues of the Mediterranean. A gorgeous Italian coastal town, it’s an Instagrammer’s dream!
Positano feels like a touch of luxury. It’s sophisticated and enchanting, bringing together the classic Italian charm with jaw-dropping beauty. About as picturesque as it gets, a European bucket list would not be complete without it.
#14 Paris, France
It’s an obvious one but Paris simply could not be left out of a European bucket list. It may be the city of love but it’s not just for the romantics. Boasting an abundance of famous landmarks, from the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre to Notre Dame and the Arc de Triomphe.
Walk around on foot to take in all the sights and browse the fantastic shopping provisions. Soak up the cafe culture, wander the parks and peruse the art collections. You’ll never want to leave. Learn more about the best things to do in Paris or the best Paris museums.
#15 Manshausen Island, Norway
For an unforgettable adventure, look no further than Manshausen Island. A 55-acre private island far above the Arctic Circle in Norway, it’s a getaway like no other. Perfectly suited to our current era of social distancing, it’s a remote hideaway that is only accessible by boat.
Accommodation comprises sea cabins perched on stilts. An eco-getaway and activity resort that will bring you right back to nature. Channel your inner polar explorer and breathe in the impressive mountain and sea views.
#16 Ronda, Malaga
Malaga may not be a destination you expected to see on this list – but the town of Ronda is a must-visit. Set atop a mountain, Ronda spans a deep gorge that separates the old town from the new town.
With its recognisable landmark stone bridge and Plaza de Toros, it’s a setup of epic proportions. Aside from the dramatic gorge, the village itself is picturesque and retains much of its historic charm. It carries a romantic atmosphere and it’s hard not to be swept up by the captivating views.
#17 Santorini, Greece
Another well-known Instagrammer’s paradise, Santorini is distinguished by its whitewashed buildings and blue domed rooftops. All perched upon rugged cliffs which overlook the bright blue sea. It’s a distinct and dramatic landscape.
An island in the Aegean sea, it was formed following a volcanic eruption in the 16th century BC. With the hot climate of Greek summers and unforgettable sunsets, it’s a must-visit summer destination.
#18 Ruka-Kuusamo, Finland
Rukatunturi is one of Finland’s most popular ski resorts. As a lesser known European ski resort, it offers a more enticing and unique experience compared to the more mainstream resorts. As well as skiing, you can enjoy visits to reindeer farms and the more relaxing river floating.
If you love nature and the great outdoors then the Ruka-Kuusamo is a must for your Europe travel bucket list. No matter the season, there will be a range of adventures to enjoy. All set within the most remarkable scenery.
#19 Rome, Italy
Rome is an utterly charming city and a personal favourite of mine. Full to the brim of famous photo spots, including the Colosseum, the Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountain and the Vatican. There are plenty of sights to see in Rome; the history and culture is fascinating.
The city centre is vibrant and buzzing, providing a captivating atmosphere. If you’re like me and love Italian food as much as life itself, you’ll be in your element. Don’t leave without devouring a Cacio e Pepe pasta dish – I’m dribbling on the keyboard just thinking about it.
#20 Tyrol, Austria
Located in the heat of the Alps, Tyrol is an Austrian state known for its ski resorts and historic sites. Framed by a spectacular alpine landscape, Tyrol is a beautiful mountainous region of epic proportions.
Enjoy skiing in the winter and cosy up in picturesque wooden chalets laden with snow. In the summer, breathe in the fresh mountain air on a long hike and paddle in the clear mountain water.
#21 Gdansk, Poland
Situated on Poland’s northern coastline, Gdansk is a beautiful seaside city. But with a rich heritage and a number of important historical attractions, Gdansk is more than just a pretty coastal town.
For the history buffs, Gdansk is a fantastic European city break destination for some epic WWII history. The historic city has a unique feel that sets it apart from other popular Polish cities, such as Warsaw and Krakow. A real gem on the Baltic Coast.
#22 London, England
I’m a little biased with this one as it’s my home city. London is a vibrant city, bursting with energy and diversity. It may not have the best weather in Europe (far from it), but the list of things to do in London is almost endless.
There is an abundance of museums and galleries for the culture seekers. World-renowned London restaurants and bars for the foodies. Plus, a lot of the attractions are free and can be seen simply by wandering around on foot.
#23 Lofoten, Norway
Lofoten is an archipelago in Norway and is known for its distinct scenery and remarkable landscapes. 95 miles north of the Arctic Circle, Lofoten is a remote getaway that offers jagged mountains, breathtaking fjords and pristine sandy beaches.
Stay in one of the distinctive cabins, witness the midnight sun and go in search of the Northern Lights. If you have a longing for adventure and a lust for staggering natural beauty then Lofoten should be top of your travel bucket list.
#24 Provence, France
One word: lavender. A photographer’s dream! Adorned with picture perfect lavender fields, olive groves and vineyards, this region in southeastern France is as pretty as it gets. A visit to the sun-soaked Provence is a must.
Explore charming villages, clifftop roads and rugged landscapes. Provence is a truly beloved region of France, bringing a certain elegance to the beautiful natural environment.
#25 Tallinn, Estonia
The capital of Estonia, Tallinn is a medieval city set by the Baltic Sea. Bringing together the cultural elements of its history with the comforts of the modern world, it’s a versatile European city. Hop between cafes during the day and enjoy the vibrant nightlife in the evening.
Meander through the enchanting cobbled streets of the Old Town and visit the fairytale castles. With the warm hospitality of its people, Tallinn is arguably one of Europe’s best-kept secrets. That qualifies it for the ultimate Europe bucket list.
#26 Amsterdam, Netherlands
The city of bicycles, Amsterdam carries a charming universal appeal. Known for its beautiful canals, local craft beers and impressive selection of museums, there are plenty of reasons to add Amsterdam to your Europe bucket list.
Amsterdam benefits from a relaxed and welcoming ambiance. It feels like a home from home, no matter where you’ve arrived from. Worth a visit at any time of year, you’ll find plenty to do in this popular city.
#27 Sintra, Portugal
Sintra is a real gem in Portugal, situated near Lisbon in the foothills of the Sintra Mountains. It is a charming town, characterised by forested hills and pastel buildings. Sintra has a whimsical feel and many of the buildings look as though they have been plucked straight out of a fairytale.
The 19th-century Pena National Palace sits on the hilltop. It combines a playful and quaint design with sweeping views over the lush hills. A Romanticist castle, it is a creative wonder and can even be seen from Lisbon on a clear day.
#28 Tuscany, Italy
A large region in central Italy, images of Tuscany conjure up luscious green vineyards and rolling hills. As the birthplace of the Renaissance, Tuscany offers a wealth of historic treasures. Cities like Florence, Pisa, Siena and Lucca provide an abundance of culture and art history.
Outside of the cities, Tuscany brings gorgeous landscapes and picturesque villages. Explore the rolling hills, stone farmhouses, olive groves and vineyards. Go cycling and rambling then finish the day by enjoying delicious Italian cuisine and wine.
#29 Ice Hotel, Sweden
The original Ice Hotel in Jukkasjärvi is a world renowned hotel and art exhibition. Made of ice and snow, it is a marvel of design and construction. Rebuilt every year, the Ice Hotel offers captivating rooms and a truly unique experience.
A perfect romantic escape for the winter, it is the ideal place to explore Swedish Lapland. Enjoy winter adventures during the day, from ice sculpting and snowmobiling to moose safaris and reindeer visits. This high concept hotel is a must for your bucket list – it’ll certainly be a stay to remember.
#30 Prague, Czech Republic
Another popular European city break, a visit to beautiful Prague could not be missed off the bucket list. Prague is an incredibly photogenic city thanks to its architectural delights. From Baroque to Renaissance and Art Nouveau styles, the city brings an artistic charm like no other.
The whole of Prague is easily accessible on foot, meaning you can fill your days by wandering around and taking in all the sights. Visiting Prague in the winter is even more enchanting but be sure to wrap up warm. A bustling city with scenic views, you’ll love it.
Have you visited any of these places? I know there are so many other incredible destinations which have not yet made it onto this list. I’m planning to expand it further so I would love to hear your recommendations! Leave a comment below or get in touch on social media.