Ever wondered whether it’s really worth the 12+ hour flight, fighting off crowds, and spending a fortune to visit some of the most popular destinations in Europe? While there are many destinations worth visiting in Europe that you may have overlooked, there are a few famous cities that deserve all the praise they receive, and therefore deserve a spot in your itinerary.

Here are five European cities that are worth their hype!

London, England

London is one of those places that simply cannot be missed during a visit to Europe. London is the first destination I ever traveled to overseas which truly set the bar high. Sure, the weather can be miserable, the price for a cup of tea ridiculous, and the people more on the reserved side.

But all of these minor details will be overlooked once you step foot off of tube and into Notting Hill, Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral, or Buckingham Palace. You will never run out of things to do and landmarks to see. You can spend an entire afternoon in one of the many parks in London, or escape the rain by exploring one of the free museums.

You will never be short on cafes or traditional English pubs. The food is becoming increasingly better over the years, but Indian cuisine has always held strong {and it’s the cheapest food you’ll find in London!}. You can share a warm beverage over a tower of pastries at high tea, or clink cocktail glasses at the top of The Shard. Check out my Top 10 Things to do in London to get you started! But I promise, you will never get bored in this city.

Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona deserves all of the hundreds of thousands of visitors it gets each year. With beautiful beaches, outstanding tapas, and unique architecture, you won’t want to leave Barcelona.

You can find relatively cheap eats throughout Barcelona, paired with refreshing Sangria. The club scene that everyone rants and raves about is a bit overdone to me and not necessarily worth the cover charges, but many would strongly disagree with me on this. You could get lost in the Gothic Quarter. Actually, I highly suggest you do. It’s stunning!

And there are many locations that will offer you views of the entire city if that is what you are after. I stayed in an AirBnb with a local from Barcelona and couldn’t believe the amount of hospitality I received. The people are warm and welcoming, and the vibe of the entire city is casual and easy-going. I spent hours sunbathing on the golden Berceloneta beach and casually strolled the surrounding area to find prime breakfast spots. I still dream of the warm breeze, the smell of the air, and the sticky climate that I truly didn’t mind being in while there in August. I would return to Barcelona in a heartbeat and you should be buying your plane tickets right now to go experience it for yourself.

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam is such a cool city. It has a cool vibe, cool laws, cool people, cool transportation, and a cool layout. I spent an afternoon riding bikes through the canals, visiting the Heineken museum {yes, beer museums are a thing here}, trying some Netherland-specific desserts {not what you’re thinking}, and even walked through the red light district.

Towards the end of my adventures in Europe, I felt rushed only have a few days in each city. However, Amsterdam put me at ease. I could just relax and enjoy my surroundings, even with limited time. I would have loved to make an appearance at the Anne Frank house, a known highlight in Amsterdam. But we were crunched for time and the wait time was excessive.

I stayed on the outskirts of the city which was relatively inexpensive, but I got lucky. You can expect to pay quite a lot on accommodation, food, and activities in this city. Regardless, it’s all still worth it!

Santorini, Greece

I could talk about my love for Santorini profusely, for hours on end. You cannot miss Santorini. I repeat, you cannot miss Santorini the next time you go to Europe. This island in Greece is the most jaw-dropping destination you’ll ever step foot on {or hoof on if you arrive via donkey}.

It literally took my breath away. I will never forget walking through Oia and witnessing the white washed houses with the blue roofs for the first time. I just sat there, stunned. Santorini is an extremely romantic location, but can be still be enjoyed solo or with a gaggle of gals.

You can enjoy wine tasting, explore the black sand beach, or simply take in the views. I suggest visiting during the off season so you have time to absorb everything without a million selfie sticks hitting you in the back of your head. This is a place you do not want to be rushed or trampled over.

Many of the small restaurants I found myself in were completely deserted when I visited in October. If you are going to have the best seat in the house, Santorini is the most ideal location you could ask for.

Paris, France

As they say, Paris is always a good idea. And they aren’t wrong, whoever they are! There is truly something magical about Paris. I have been to Paris during one of the happiest moments of my life and one of my darkest. Obviously, each experience was completely different.

But the one thing that remained the same was the twinkle I found around every corner of Paris. I have seen Paris through rose-colored lenses and through the dusty window of the metro. I am in awe of its beauty. And at the ease at which Parisians live their lives. The food is exquisite. The architecture is stunning. And the stories held within the city limits are timeless.

You don’t even need to do anything in Paris to have a fabulous time. Breathing will suffice. But if you must, take time to picnic under the Eiffel tower, get a gargoyles view of the city atop Notre Dame Cathedral, and walk the gardens of the Palace of Versailles. Allow Paris to consume you for all you’re worth, you won’t be disappointed.

Did I miss a city that is absolutely justified of its popularity? Let me know!



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