Our Europe travel bucket list has evolved and expanded over the years. It is our favorite continent of travel and even after having traveled there for so many years, we still can’t get enough of it. So here are our European bucket list items that you should do in your lifetime!
When we originally started this Europe travel bucket list, we only had 20 odd items and today it is a massive collection of experiences. As we travel more and learn more, we will be updating this list.
Epic European bucket list items that you should do in your lifetime!
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Picnic at Eiffel Tower Paris, France
Paris – the capital city of France is one of the MOST romantic cities in the world. It is a classic – historic city that shouldn’t be missed. Of all the amazing things that you can do in Paris, remember to visit the iconic Eiffel Tower and picnic at their park.
It will be a moment to remember.
Visit royal London and be a part of 18 million visitors (who visit each year)
Head to London in the United Kingdom and explore the historic city from the change of guards at the Buckingham Palace, London bridge and the Westminster Abbey. Whether you are in town for a day or a month, this city will keep you busy with its museums, architecture, food and gardens!
READ: First trip to Europe? Get the Europe travel checklist and planning guide
Take a gondola ride in Venice Italy
This Europe bucket list item needs no further explanation. One of the romantic things to do in Venice is to take your sweetheart on a classic gondola ride.
Chasing Northern Lights in Iceland
10 years ago the landscape of Iceland in terms of tourism was so different! Today (in 2019-2020), it is one of the hottest places to visit in Europe. Chasing northern lights in winter in Iceland should be a part of your mega Europe bucket list. We did it and LOVED it!
It was magical and such a fascinating natural phenomenon.
Take a river cruise at the historic Danube River in Budapest Hungary
The river Danube passes through 7 nations in Europe. But it looks the most picturesque in Budapest – the capital of Hungary. We highly recommend taking a Budapest River Cruise to see the Hungarian UNESCO World Heritage sites in night’s glory.
The Hungarian Parliament is one of the MOST stunning buildings to watch at night!
Prost! Oktoberfest in Munich Germany
The beer fest in Munich called the Oktoberfest is one of the most visited fests in Europe. This is held annually for a two week period in Munich Bavaria. The festival originated in 1810 to celebrate the wedding ceremony of the crown prince of Bavaria.
Oktoberfest, in today’s time, calls for massive celebrations with beer, food, concerts, and parades. Many festival lovers will book their trip in advance and wear a Bavarian dirndl dress to ring in the festivities.
READ: How to spend one week in Munich Germany
Live in an igloo resort, Kakslauttanen Igloo East Village, Finland
One of the amazing things to do is to experience a wintery night in an igloo- all the way in Finland. The Kakslauttanen Igloo Village (Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort – Igloos and Chalets, accessible from Lapland) has glass igloos where you can stay for the night or two and see the green dancing lights (aurora borealis). The igloos are warmed up for you and comfortable bedding and blankets plus hot cocoa is provided.
This is a MEGA Europe bucket list item. Why wait, book a stay there today – Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort – Igloos and Chalets
Walk the Charles Bridge in the Prague Czech Republic
Charles Bridge is an iconic landmark in the capital of the Czech Republic. Built-in the mid 15th century, the stone Karluv most or Charles Bridge is adorned with many figures of the historical and religious importance.
One of the European travel bucket items is to cross or walk the Charles Bridge whilst admiring the Vltava River. You can make an evening special by taking a cruise over the Vlata. The Charles Bridge was built to connect the old town with the higher level Prague Castle.
READ: 2 Days in Prague
See the spot where the Berlin Wall was – in Germany
Our modern world history is marked with the Cold Wars and Second World War aftermath. The now completely destroyed Berlin wall is a testimony of coming together.
The Berlin Wall was built to divide east and west Berlin Germany. With the overthrowing of Communist powers in the nearby countries, Berlin was finally united in 1990. The original wall was demolished and pieces of it chipped away as souvenirs. But what you can see is a part of it at the Berlin Wall Documentation Center and learn about its history.
The wall of terror and certain areas in and around it are marked for visitors to walk (cobblestone lanes) to experience this page of history.
Fun fact: Originally the Berlin Wall on the west side was full of colorful graffiti. Of what is left today of the wall – is filled with graffiti on the eastern side. The color of freedom of expression, I say!
Stay in a Castle in Scotland for a night or two
Scotland is known for its stunning castles. But did you know that you can stay in a medieval castle for a night or more? YES! This epic Europe travel bucket list item will blow your mind.
Imagine staying in a 12th-century castle where kings and knights used to live. Imagine sleeping on a bed full of history, or enjoying a fireplace cuddles at an amazing living room with the spiral staircase – well book a castle hotel or Airbnb on your next visit to Scotland.
Go see a show at the Vienna Opera House
Wiener Staatsoper or the Vienna Opera House is ONE of the busiest Opera houses in the world. It produces more than 60 shows in a year and many hundreds of recitals.
The Opera house is beaming with elegant designs inside and makes for a stunning evening setting! Add an opera show to your Vienna trip when you are in town next.
READ: Find all the things to do in Vienna in 2 days
Listen to Fado music in Lisbon Portugal
Fado is a musical art form that developed in Lisbon Portugal in the 19th century. The music is characterized by melancholic tunes of love and being lost at sea.
Enjoy an evening of Fado in one of the historic centers of Lisbon – the Chiado neighborhood and re-live the Bohemian vibe of this beautiful city.
Visit one or all of the microstates in Europe
A microstate is a very small sovereign state in Europe. This term is typically used to refer to the six smallest states in Europe, namely Andorra, Liechtenstein, Malta, Monaco, San Marino, and Vatican City.
Although a microstate, they are recognized as countries and have their own governance structure, currency, and economic policies. One thing in common in all of them is that you can easily explore the capital cities in a day. Andorra and Vatican City can be given more time if you are into skiing or religious – but a day is still good enough!
So let’s check those off and they will be done – pretty quick!
Take a cooking class: European Bucket list items
European cuisine is different and what better way to bring a piece of that culinary experience by learning to make it. Take a cooking class (2-3 hour duration) in a city of your choice.
Think macaroons in Paris, waffle workshop in Brussels, goulash soup in Budapest. It is easy to sign up for these online via GetYourGuide.
Go on a Mediterranean Cruise
Book a 5-7 day Mediterranean cruise and explore the stunning cities from the waters. Here are the 5 countries to explore in a Mediterranean Cruise – Italy, Spain, France, Greece, and Turkey.
Spend a weekend in the unique region of Andalucía in Southern Spain
Andalusian cities are a beautiful mix of Christian and Islamic architecture, food and way of life. Pick any city – Seville, Cordoba, Granada, Alhambra, Rhonda – and experience the local cuisine, go sightseeing and admire their architecture – you will be amazed at what you can find!
Climb the church towers
One of the FUN things to add to your Europe bucket list that doesn’t include cheese, chocolate, and beer is to attempt to climb every church tower you visit. Yea you heard me. Our interest started with the Old Pete’s church in Marienplatz Munich – where for 3 euros and a few hundred steps later we were welcomed by stunning city views.
Now we have been to the top of the tallest church in Reykjavik (but via lift) and didn’t deter away from climbing 34 floors to reach the top of the Giralda Tower in the Seville Cathedral. Oh, and it was 34 floors – one way. So you get it!
Taking a walking tour in every city (basically walk-walk)
Taking a walking tour is a great way to explore a city, especially in Europe where most of the major attractions are located so close to each other. You can find free walking tours in each city, or book special history walking tours for less than $40 USD or even download an app (or GPS) to hit all the sightseeing places. It is a great way to experience a new place and stumble upon hidden gems.
We have done walking tours in almost all the cities we have been to – either stand-alone walking tours or part of a full-day guided tour/day trip.
Have to visit Greenland
Have to visit Greenland – because why not? We are planning a trip to Greenland very soon and it is on our European bucket list. What has drawn us to Greenland is that it is unique and we really want to learn about the history and human civilization in that country (so visiting Nuuk – the capital and their museums are a given).
We also have Thule in our plans to see how people live in the far north and experience the Inuit culture (We still have to do Yellowknife and White Horse Yukon in our country).
Take a dip at the thermal waters of Blue Lagoon in Iceland
The Blue Lagoon is a geothermal spa in Iceland. The waters of Blue Lagoon are said to be calming and healing. The lagoon is man-made and is located in a lava field near the Reykjanes Peninsula. This Europe travel bucket list item is meant to be luxurious. Book a premium spa package and stay at the Lagoon for a night.
Imagine light snowflakes falling on you, while you stay cozy under the warm waters – it is purely magical!
There are also other geothermal spas in Iceland. If you prefer a more natural thermal spa – then Secret Lagoon is the way to go. This is also one of the oldest geothermal pools in Iceland.
READ: How to add Blue Lagoon and Secret Lagoon to your Iceland Itinerary
Visit the United Nations offices/buildings in Brussels, Hague or Geneva
It is on my bucket list to someday work or contribute to UN efforts. Some day.
In that quest, I look for UN enriched destinations when traveling to Europe. We did explore the mini Europe Park, EU Commission and seen UN buildings in Brussels. But missed out on visiting Hague – International Court of Justice. It’s still on the bucket list. The same goes for Geneva headquarters.
Photographing the cool and artsy train stations in Stockholm
Stockholm transit centers aka train centers are marvelous pieces of art. Some of the photos that we have seen are MIND-BLOWING! I can’t wait to see this in person.
Explore the only Grand Duchy in the World – Luxembourg
Luxembourg has many achievements to its long list of merit. It was and still is an active participant in United Nations activities and accolades. And not to forget, how rich and beautiful the country is!
The meaning of grand duchy is that it is a country or territory whose official head of state is a monarch with the title of a grand duke or grand duchess. Luxembourg is the ONLY one left, who is still a grand duchy.
Of all the interesting facts about Luxembourg, you should know that the Schengen Visa agreement was signed in this country.
Explore the Neolithic structures in Stonehenge
The brilliant pre-historic stone structures in Stonehenge is a MUST visit when in London. This monument is a UNESCO World Heritage site and also a British cultural icon. Archaeologists believe that these structures are from 3000 and 5000 BC.
The Stonehenge monument is one of the wonders of Europe and one of the world’s most iconic archaeological gems. This site tells the story of the transition of mankind from the Neolithic Period to the Bronze Age.
Visit the Disney Castle Neuschwanstein Castle of Germany
In the town of Fussen in Bavaria, lies the beautiful castle of Neuschwanstein. This is a modern 20th-century castle built by the (mad king) Ludwig II. The castle is incomplete but is open to the public to visit the many staterooms and quarters.
Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Castle was inspired by Neuschwanstein. Do it in a day trip from Munich
Spend a romantic evening in Amalfi Coast Italy
I am not a super beach person (for now), but I dream of a romantic evening in the Amalfi Coast, maybe a summer-fall holiday!
Imagine the twinkling lights from far away from houses and the coast making waves and me sipping rose! GOAL!
Attend a film festival in Europe Bucket List Items
Home of much-coveted Cannes Film Festival, Europe is a good destination to attend film festivals. All the major cities host an annual film festival that is worth going for. You never know you might end up appreciating a national director or script.
Reykjavik International Film Festival 2018 – ‘And breathe normally’ – loved that movie!
Sailing in the French Riviera
The stunning coastline of southern France is a beauty to behold. The French Riviera with its waterfront, yacht, sandy beaches will keep you hooked.
Take a boat cruise or sail yourself to admire and soak in stunning views.
Game night to mega sports events in Europe travel bucket list
Whether it is the Wimbledon Grand Slam, Grand Prix in Monaco or the EuroCup, Europe’s premier destinations is also prime sports event hosts.
Shop (or window shop) one of the world’s expensive streets in Zurich Switzerland
Switzerland is expensive. But when it is expensive (like nowhere else in the world), look to check off pricey items that you won’t ever see otherwise. Bahnhofstrasse Street is the most expensive street in Switzerland. It is lined with stores whose display window has watches and valuables of 110,000 Swiss francs and above! Crazy isn’t?
For us mortals, you can still walk around the street, sit for brunch and explore the landmarks of Zurich!
Pub crawl in Dublin Ireland
Go on pub crawling in the heart of Dublin Ireland. (PS: You can also book this in a tour)
Go to the Westernmost point of the European Continent
Cabo da Raco located about an hour from Lisbon Portugal is the westernmost tip of the European continent as well as of Portugal. This spot is marked by endless blue waters, a lighthouse and a statue of Christ.
Add this to your Europe bucket list items that you must check off – it is also an easy day trip from Lisbon.
Check out the UFO Bridge in Bratislava Slovakia
Bratislava, Slovakia’s capital has some of the quirkiest things to see. The UFO Bridge is one of them. It is a telecommunication tower and bridge, and due to its unique design, it is a MUST visit in Bratislava.
READ: How to spend 2 weeks in Europe and explore 5 countries
Sipping rose in the wine regions of France
If you are a wine lover, this SHOULD be on your bucket list too. French wine regions of Loire Valley, Burgundy and Bordeaux are world-famous.
Stay in any of these valleys for a night (or a romantic weekend) and sip away wine – from the wine towns!
READ: Explore wine regions in day tours from Paris
Visit Gaudi’s creations in Barcelona Spain
The art nouveau movement in Spain started with the creations of an intelligent man Anthony Gaudi. Many new and modernist buildings were designed by him that form an important part of Catalonian history and culture. The Sagrada Familia, Park Guell, Casa Mila, and the Casa Batllo are some of the finest examples of Gaudi’s work.
Checking off at least one or more of Gaudi’s work is essential to understand Barcelona and Catalonia in general. Sagrada Familia is incomplete at the moment (2019-2020) and plans are to complete the landmark church by 2024 – on the centenary death anniversary of the famed architect – Anthony Gaudi.
Take a hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia Turkey
I wanted to write, “I want to take a hot air balloon ride”, because I want to, please. And what better location than Cappadocia. Add a stay at Sultan Caves hotel too. (Takes out the credit card!)
Go to a Carnival in Europe Travel bucket list
Although carnivals are not as HUGE as traditional festivals in Europe, it is still worth a visit, especially if it coincides with your travel plans. The Spanish Gran Rua de Carnaval boasts of tortillas and wooden carriages and people participating on foot.
Horse carriage in Vienna Austria or Krakow Poland
The old town squares in Europe look forever stunning, with bustling postcard-like activities. Take a horse carriage ride for example. It is sightseeing made special.
A ride in Vienna or old town Krakow will be a romantic (and a lovely) way to see the city quarters.
Ride a high-speed train in Europe Bucket list items
This bucket list item should be for first-timers planning a trip to Europe. Riding a high-speed train to travel from one country to another in Europe in less than 2 hours is like a dream. These high-speed trains connect major capital cities like Brussels to Paris or Paris to London, to name a few. They are clean and super fast while giving you a taste of infrastructure in highly developed first world countries.
And not to mention, you can cross over anywhere from 2-4 countries in a day, by doing just that. (Right now, it takes me 1.50 hours one way to reach work!)
Visit a red light district in Europe travel bucket list
Red-light districts of yesterday are tourist attractions today. It was one of my Europe bucket list items to visit a Red light district and we did – in Amsterdam. It was not what I expected it to be.
The district or the red light zone was located near a church and had informational boards and quotes, dedicated to the lives and hardships of prostitutes, while also glamorizing them at the same time.
The comic strip in Brussels Belgium
How we love Brussels! One of the unique things to do in Brussels is to take a proud stroll at their comic strip and admire all the stunning murals or TinTin and his friends. This strip is completely free.
Brussels also has a comic museum where all the stories and history of the comic world is displayed.
READ: Explore the best of Brussels in one day
Visit the tallest building in Europe
Lakhta Center in St Peters-burg – I once had a thing to visit all of the tallest buildings in the world. But I am not even close. If you do too, then add the Lakhta Center in St Peters-burg, which is the tallest building in Russia and Europe. And the 16th tallest in the world.
Enjoy the thermal waters – Széchenyi Medicinal Bath in Budapest Hungary
The Széchenyi Medicinal Bath in Budapest is beautiful and a MUST visit. It is the largest medicinal bath in Europe. The thermal waters are known to have healing and therapeutic qualities.
Accessing the thermal spas in Budapest is cheaper than the Blue Lagoon in Iceland. Plus you get to pose in front of bright yellow buildings that look like royalty.
Visit the world’s most popular Arts Museum – the Lourve
The Lourve museum is THE most visited museum in Paris and the world. The famed painting of Mona Lisa is kept here, along with the works of many other esteemed artists.
Expect long line –ups to the museum, but a visit is definitely worth it. Consider visiting the Lourve in the afternoon (after close) or during off seasons to beat the crowd.
Admire the Pena Palace Portugal
The famed Pena Palace has been on Instagram and many other social media channels. The palace along with many others in the municipality of Sintra is one of the most loved Portuguese treasures. Visit this place on a day trip from Lisbon Portugal.
Explore the Palace of Madrid the largest palace in Europe bucket list
The Palace of Madrid is the residence of the royal family of Spain. Although the royal family doesn’t live here anymore, the Palace of Madrid is the LARGEST in the whole of Europe by size.
Age of discoveries Lisbon Portugal
For history nerds, who LOVE reading about sea discoveries and for those that don’t – Lisbon has something for everyone. Portuguese sailors, navigators, and kings were pioneers in leading the age of discoveries. They connected India to Europe and changed our history. They came to the Americas and changed theirs!
Portugal is not often visited, but it SHOULD be included in your Europe trip itinerary to learn about how it all began. Visit the Belem district in Lisbon to learn about this journey that started in the 15th century. (Monument to the Discoveries and Maritime Museum in Jeromos Monastery)
Experience history and luxury at Palace of Versailles France
The town of Versailles is located just outside of Paris. Visiting the Palace of Versailles means understanding the French monarchy, their love of grand architecture and also modern history. The Louvre Museum in Paris was once upon a time a royal residence, but soon the Versailles Palace succeeded as the residence.
The Versailles Palace was almost like a town in itself with living and working quarters for the king as well as his ministers. The ousting and looting of the Palace of Versailles led to the French Revolution and later on, the First World War came to an end by signing the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 (at the Hall of Mirrors).
The Palace of Versailles is ONE of the most visited palaces in Europe.
READ: How to get to Versailles from Paris France
Spend a winter city break in Europe Bucket list Items
Winter is an amazing time in Europe. This is especially true for many of the popular European destinations with snow like London, Paris, Amsterdam, Dublin, etc. Visiting these cities in winter means a ton of free activities like light shows, ice skating, Christmas concerts and more. And not to forget shopping bonanzas.
Winter in these popular cities is also less crowded than summer months and you will surely find something to do in each city during this magical time. Winter temperatures range from -3 to 9 degree Celsius.
READ: The best winter destinations to visit in Europe
Celebrate the Holiday Season by visiting a Christmas market in Europe
The holiday season is truly the MOST wonderful time of the year in Europe. And one of the ways to make is extra special is to visit Christmas markets.
Christmas Markets are characterized by age-old traditional setting in an old fort or marker square with a HUGE Christmas tree, and local vendors selling goodies like decorative ornaments mulled wine, toys and wool items.
Popular Christmas markets include Salzburg in Austria, Stuttgart, and Nuremberg in Germany.
Visiting the ancient city of Pompeii Italy
Pompeii is an ancient Roman city, covered in ashes of Mount Vesuvius that erupted in 79 AD. A UNESCO World Heritage site, Pompeii attracts millions of visitors every year.
I learned about it as a kid and it still is, on my bucket list to see Pompeii in person.
(We are hoping to visit Pompeii in 2020, on a day trip from Naples Italy)
See pretty tulips in Amsterdam Netherlands
The sight of pretty tulips in Amsterdam during spring is one of the prime drivers of tourism to the country.
If you are visiting the Netherlands in springtime, pay a visit to the tulip gardens. In Amsterdam, the tulip season starts in January (with the National Tulip Day) and goes on till April. On national Tulips day and after, the entire Dam Square in central Amsterdam is filled with beds of tulips aka tulip gardens.
Some of the BEST and prettiest TULIP fields are located in the northern region of the Netherlands – about 30 minutes drive from Amsterdam.
Eat Belgian Waffles in Belgium
Belgian waffles are waffles that originated in the country of Belgium. There are 2 types of waffles and both are named after 2 cities – Brussels and Liege in Belgium. During a World’s Trade Expo in 1964, the term Belgian or Belgium waffles was introduced to denote its origins to the country.
Belgian Waffles are characterized by highly yeast infused batter, thick and fluffy, which is served with syrup or butter. There are different types of waffles that you can try in Belgium, including a waffle on a stick, served in Bruges.
READ: All the amazing day trips to take from Brussels
Watch a flamenco show in Seville Spain
Seville is testimony to bohemian – gypsy culture in Spain. Flamenco originated as an expression of life itself, with solo dancing and music with tons of hand and foot taps. Flamenco is also a form of art with unique embellishments and a way of storytelling.
Watch a flamenco show in Seville – one of the Europe travel bucket list items you should not miss!
Explore the ancient city – Acropolis of Athens Greece
Acropolis literally means the “upper city”. There are many acropolises’ in the world, but the Acropolis of Athens is special and mist be included in your Europe travel Bucket list and here is why.
The Acropolis of Athens is home of 5th century BC ruins. The entire complex is so fascinating and full of history that you shouldn’t miss. It’s like a history lesson coming to life! Among many landmark buildings at the Acropolis, the Pantheon is the most popular. The Acropolis of Athens is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Make a wish at the Trevi Fountain in Rome Italy
The Fontana di Trevi or the Trevi fountain is a popular attraction in Rome, I am sure you know that. Head there when you plan to visit Rome, make a wish, and throw a coin.
Did you know all the coins are charitable? And roughly 3000 euros are donated every day from the fountain. And fishing or removing coins is not allowed. No no!
Pose in front of the Colosseum in Rome Italy
This amphitheater aka the Colosseum makes for stunning postcard pictures. The Colosseum was neglected and looted for many years and after a series of restoration work – it now one of the MOST visited sites in Italy.
Put on a red dress and nice heals – pose in front of the Colosseum in Rome (Note to self: Visit offseason and wake up early).
Walk the airport run-way at the rock of Gibraltar
Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory. It had played an important role as a defensive fort/site for the UK. The city lives at the base and on the lower layers of the rock of Gibraltar. Their living expenses of the residents are quite high.
But one of the coolest things to do here is to walk the airport runway when you arrive in Gibraltar to reach the rock base for sightseeing. Only 2 airlines are licensed to fly planes to and from Gibraltar. And not to forget the whole feeling of going through the rock – which is actually quite hollow from inside.
Walk between the European and Asian continents in Iceland’s Pingellier National Park
The Pingellier National Park is a park located in southern Iceland. The National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site recognized for the forming of the first known parliament in Iceland – the alpingi.
But there is more to the amazing Pingellier National Park. The park is located where the Eurasian continental shifting takes place every year, so what that means is you can walk on the European and Asian continents and also dive and snorkel between the 2 continents (Silfra). Now isn’t that EPIC?
Explore the walls of Dubrovnik – the Pearl of Adriatic
The city of Dubrovnik is a fortified town in Croatia. The walls were built in the early 14th century to ward off enemies and hence served as a defensive fort.
Dubrovnik with the walled city limits and the backdrop of the Adriatic Sea makes it an amazing European Destination of interest. Visit their viewpoints in the late afternoon to see the stunning waters and the orange roofed houses.
Visit Grokt Markt in the medieval town of Bruges Belgium
Bruges is a beautiful fairy-tale-like medieval town in Belgium. The city is known for its gingerbread-like houses, century’s old marketplace called the Grokt markt, a Belfry tower, and canals.
Bruges is your ‘fairy-tale postcard image come to life moment’. Admire the colorful houses, and eat and drink at the market place which is set up by locals’ everyday. The Grokt Markt – market square has been in use since 958 AD.
READ: The perfect Bruges Itinerary
Drive Romantic Road in Germany
The Romantic Road in Germany is a stretch of road stretching through the forests and mountains of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg. Along the way, you will find pretty German villages and small towns, cheese farms, UNESCO heritage sites, and lush greenery and landscape.
The Romantic Road was a part of a trade route in the medieval ages.
Visit the highest capital city of Europe – Andorra la Vella
Located at a height of 1,023 meters, Andorra la Vella is the highest capital city of Andorra. Andorra is a microstate and it is easily accessible from Barcelona on a day trip.
You can also stay in Andorra for a ski weekend, as this is what it is known for. And not to forget shopping heaven!
Photographing and admiring Lake Bled in Slovenia
A visit to Lake Bled was on our Europe travel bucket list for a long time. We were able to check this off in 2020! The image of the lake is super stunning and is worth making a trip to Lubjania – Slovenia’s capital.
Visit the Vatican City
Vatican City is the smallest country in Europe. It is the seat of the Pope.
Check off this European Bucket list item, when you are in Italy.
Take a scenic train ride in Switzerland
Scenic train rides are a THING in Europe, especially in a place like Switzerland. And there are many options to choose from – like FULL day train ride with comfortable seating – food and scenic mountain views or a stop-over town ride. The Golden Pass and the Glacier Express, passing through the ski resort towns of Zermatt and St Moritz are two of the MOST popular ones!
Ride the Tram 28 in Lisbon Portugal
You would think bright yellow colored trams are kept in a museum somewhere. But in Lisbon, trams are a primary source of transportation. They are especially used in moving people from the higher part of the city (like Alfama) to lower levels(like Chiado-Baixa).
It is a MUST do item in Lisbon – that is to ride the iconic tram 28 and explore the historic centers of this hilly capital city.
Take a cruise to see the stunning Fjords of Norway
Norway’s fjords are the finest. And the Geirangerfjord is also a UNESCO World Heritage site. That’s 2 reasons to visit Norway soon. Anyway, one of our Europe bucket list items is to take a cruise to explore the fjords in WINTER – yea when everything is covered in fairy dust – snow!
Explore the Grand Bazaar of Istanbul Turkey
No, you don’t have to leave Europe to explore souks. Grand Bazaar in Istanbul has it all – like 61 covered streets filled with Turkish goodies. (We have been to Morocco, but so wanna explore and see the Turkish one!)
Viennese café and Sachertorte Vienna Austria
When you are visiting Vienna, you got to try this. Wien or Vienna is huge on-street cafes – coffee and pastry. Try their popular Sachertorte – an Austrian chocolate cake or tart. This torte was invented by Franz Sacher and hence the name Sachertorte. The cake was prepared for their royal prince in the 19th century.
Go on, take a bite!
Visit the Lavender Fields of Provence region in France
The Provence region in southern France boasts of sunny warm weather, vineyards and…. and amazing purple beds of lavender. The rows of lavender bliss can be found across the region in late June and July months.
The best way to explore the lavender fields is to stay in Aix en Provence and then take a tour. Valensole farms in the region are by far the most visited and picturesque. Valensole village sits on a plateau and provides sweeping views of the lavender farms.
Learn the history of Anne Frank in Amsterdam Netherlands
I am sure you must have read or heard about the Diary of Anne Frank. Anne Frank was a young Jewish girl who wrote a diary of events when she and her family members were in hiding while escaping the Nazi atrocities.
In the city center of Amsterdam is the Anne Frank house, where she wrote the diary. The house is turned into a museum which speaks volume about her life and of others during those struggling times.
Visiting the house of Anne Frank is one of the bucket list items that you SHOULD do. Ensure you book tickets ahead of time and allow 1-2 hours inside the house. Photography inside the house is not allowed.
READ: The perfect Amsterdam Itinerary and guide
Visit a concentration camp in Europe
A part of European history is painted in Nazi atrocities. Understanding that part of history is crucial. We wanted to see the exhibits and learn about the plight first hand. We have visited the Dacha concentration memorial camp and now hoping to visit the Auschwitz camp in Poland in the near future.
Visit the oldest University in Europe
We all know about the high quality of European education and esteemed universities. Exploring any of these universities is a delightful journey to admiring their architecture and gardens. We explored the Sorbonne University in Paris and saw the University of Barcelona on one of our recent trips. I still have the University of Oxford and Cambridge on my list.
The oldest university in Europe is the University of Bologna, established in 1088 AD. Universities of Oxford (1096 AD) and Cambridge (13th century) came after that.
Go on a beach holiday in Europe bucket list
When you think of Europe, beaches are usually not the norm. But think differently and think of all the wonderful Mediterranean coastline and warm sandy beaches. There are many places in Europe where you can escape the cold winters and soak up the sun.
Our favorites: Portugal, Spain, Southern France, Greece
Exploring the design capital – Helsinki Finland
People say Finnish are cold. I mean they get a lot of snow, but we have also seen some of the coolest – bright quarters and would love to explore this Nordic capital and their nature.
Walking the cute-sy town center of Riga Latvia
I am not a big art museum fan-fan, but I have heard that Riga Latvia is super cool, with amazing art nouveau structures sprinkled all across town. So that goes to my mega Europe travel bucket list.
Visit the Normandy Beaches
As a big history nerd, I find historical places as the crowd puller, well it is for me. Second World War lessons are so glamorously told (and re-told) that it is worth checking out. Normandy beaches are one of those places.
Party in Ibiza
Ibiza is a partygoers’ paradise. With TONS of events in town, you will find a DJ, a club or a beach party that you will LOVE.
Take a brewery tour
Europe is proud of its brewing heritage. In many cities, you will find guided tours to breweries (and microbreweries). Attend a guided brewery tour to see for yourself how and beer is manufactured.
Our favorites – The Royal Brewery in Munich, Brewery Bourgogne des Flandres in Bruges, Heineken Experience in Amsterdam.
Almost all the countries in Europe, have a signature beer, wine or coffee. When you are visiting a new city (or town), ask for a local beer or coffee.
Learn to Tango or a new language
I would love to learn a new form of dance or art in Europe and that’s tango for me. It could be learning a new language for you.
Take a stroll or cruise the Nyhavn waterfront community in Copenhagen Denmark
Nyhavn is the colorful waterfront community in Copenhagen. It is a MUST visit when you in Denmark. Take a stroll and photograph the colorful houses or go on an evening cruise to see Copenhagen in night lights.
See the Swiss Alps or the Pyrenees or any mountain range and compare
Now Banff mountains have my heart, but doesn’t mean that LOVE can’t be shared, am I right? We have seen the Alps, the Pyrenees and many mountains that we can’t even name them all. And they are all BEAUTIFUL.
But we still have a few more to go.
Head to the mountains, hike or camp and see how it compares to any favorites you might have. Do it.
Throw tomatoes – La Tomatina Festival Bunol Spain
A fun festival is always a good way to enjoy a new place. La Tomatina Festival held in Buñol (east of Spain) is all about crushing, throwing and playing with tomatoes. And their tomatoes are YUM!
Boil eggs in a geyser in Iceland
We get it. Iceland has been featured here many times, but there are reasons why. The landscape of Iceland is like no other in Europe. And this natural phenomenon of hot springs and boiling water underneath the earth’s surface is mind-boggling!
Did you know that you can boil eggs and make bread by just planting them under the ground? Yes, it’s true! You can boil eggs where hot geysers exist and there is lava bread which is baked under the earth’s heat. To see this cool bucket list item, you got to visit The Great Geysir – Strokkur in Iceland as part of your Golden Circle Tour.
Grab a drink at the ruin bars of Budapest Hungary
Budapest is a hip and happening capital city of Hungary. One of the unique things to do in Budapest is to stop by a ruin bar and grab a drink (or two).
The rise of the Ruin Bars goes back to the time when the city of Budapest was filled with dilapidated old buildings that were completely abandoned. It started with one ruin bar in such an old building offering cheap drinks. And then many others just followed.
Today you will find them near the Jewish Synagogue in Budapest.
Visit the World’s most beautiful New York café Budapest
New Café in Budapest’ Pest area is known to be the most beautiful café in the world. The café was established in 1984 and was a meeting place for artists, writers, and poets.
Over the years the café fell into decay and even became a sports store once. With the peace and better governance returning to the city, measures were taken to facelift the stunning building and open up business as usual.
Café interiors are super stunning – it is like dining in your palace. Prices at the New York Café are a tad pricier, but the ambiance and a special visit are worth all the money.
Go Tapas bar hopping in Seville Spain
Seville is Andalucia’s largest city and is the seat of tapas. The original way of bar hopping with pint-size starters and drinks can be truly experienced in Seville (and yea it is different from Barcelona.)
Expect a lot of hopping and a friendly vibe that goes on until late at night! And this is the way Andalusians like to mingle and socialize with friends.
So when in Seville try out their 1 euro beer with tapas food (ranging from 2- 4 euros per person). Try this in a food tour here
Sip afternoon high tea in London England
One of the royal ways to experience London life is to indulge in an afternoon high tea session.
Stay in an Airbnb or hotel facing the Mediterranean in Oia Greece
The picturesque towns in Greece is hard to beat. Make it even more special by staying a hotel facing the sea. And it doesn’t have to break the bank. Most hotel rooms with a pool and balcony start at $40 USD
Go on a sound of Music Tour in Salzburg Austria
If you love the movie, ‘Sound of Music’, then taking a guided tour to see the movie sets and the wonderful countryside in Salzburg is a MUST. The movie scenes were exclusively shot here in Salzburg.
READ: Our 2 days in Salzburg Trip itinerary
Shopping for high-end luxury items
High-end luxury brands are based in countries like France, Italy, and the UK. If you have a much-coveted Chanel or Louis Vuitton purse in mind, or a Gucci shoe or a Burberry scarf – buy it in Europe. London Heathrow is a nice place to shop beating duties, but overall the prices are said to be great in boutique stores.
Explore and photograph the Scottish Highlands
The foggy misty images of Lochness in the Scottish highlands is a picture to remember. Such serenity and amazing landscape in Scotland. A must visit.
Visit a dormant volcano
Exploring a dormant volcano (and learning the history). On our list – Mount Vesuvius (Italy) and Arthurs Seat (Scotland).
Go yacht partying in Croatia
The famous floating festival in Croatia is a MEGA event of yachts (and people rejoicing) in midst of serene seas and enchanting towns. They have different routes and places covered with a lot of local food, partying and activities.
Explore the Red Square in Moscow Russia
Did you know I studied Russian history (and also picked up a certificate course in the Russian language – of which I remember nothing right now)? I HAVE to visit Red Square in Moscow – it has been on my bucket list for years now. Red Square is surrounded by medieval and modern history lessons *that’s like my classroom” right there.
Photographing the Stari Most Bridge in Bosnia Herzegovina
The medieval stone bridge in Mostar, located in the southern part of Bosnia Herzegovina – Stari Most – with the Neretva River flowing through it, looks so stunning. We would love to photography the bridge. Plus Bosnia Herzegovina has SO much history. Yay!
Visiting the Dracula House aka Bran Castle of Transylvania
I guess the controversies around Vlad III Dracula and if he at all visited or prisoned at the Bran Castle is what makes me more interested in visiting this place. Located in Romania, the Bran Castle is known as Dracula House worldwide, as the seat of Vlad’s torture mansion.
I guess I have to visit this place to find the truth – *added to the bucket list*.
Pick the countryside and live there for a month (or 3)
This is like my FAVORITEST and I have trying to convince Salil for a while and I can see him agreeing soon! Small towns and countryside in Europe are not super expensive and they make for perfect long term stays to explore a new country. I have the French countryside, Budapest, Sofia, and Lisbon on my list.
Check off all the 44 countries in Europe Travel Bucket list
As of 2020, the United Nations recognizes 44 countries in Europe. Some of them are part of the European Union and use Schengen visa agreements and some don’t. This is our goal to check off all the 44 countries in Europe.
We are halfway there!
We hope you enjoyed our MASSIVE bucket list, which keeps growing! Add your favorite Europe bucket list items below.
Traveling to Europe? Use these handy guides
- Europe 101 – Our introductory guide to planning a trip to Europe.
- Europe Itinerary Samples – Want to make the most of your visit to Europe? This is the ultimate 27 itinerary samples to plan your sightseeing in one or multiple destinations in Europe.
- Guide to Schengen Visa – read the guide and checklist here.
- Europe flight cancellation – Read about the process and steps for reimbursement for Europe flight delays and cancellations.
- Visiting Europe in winter – Here are some of the best traveler picks.
- Europe in February – Tops destinations to visit
- Warm places in Europe? – Here are the warmest places to visit in Europe from December through March
- Europe Packing Guide – This is the only packing guide to Europe you will ever need. It has reference to seasons and regional variations.
- Boots for European winter (Female edition): Top boots to wear in European winters
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