Our 2024 guide to Europe! Tips, hidden gems, guides & more!

santorini greek island bucket list europe should i visit

Europe.. you’re iconic, beautiful, enchanting, full of culture, and you keep us coming back! There’s a reason Europe is number one on most people’s travel bucket list! We have visited multiple times, including 6 months of full time travel in the continent, and plan to return again this year! This guide looks to open your eyes to some of the very best destinations around Europe from our experiences! However, it isn’t a ‘complete guide’, but more of a ‘travel inspiration’ designed to get you thinking about alternative locations. We have also included links to some of our very best Europe guides and itineraries at the end of this blog, so make sure to check them out!

Remember.. these are just our suggestions, and should be used to guide your travel planning!

Best of the big cities in Europe

Below we have listed 5 of our favourite ‘big cities’ in Europe. You’ll notice a few glaring omissions, including a lack of the most popular destinations like Paris, London, Rome etc. After visiting all of them and more, we found the destinations below delivered more culture, better experiences, and importantly, less crowds.


A truly delightful city, Lisbon is a Portuguese gem that offers so much! We we think of the best things about big European cities, we love great culture, a top hospitality scene, beautiful old neighbourhoods and laneways, good coffee, and great day trip options. Lisbon has this in spades! It’s also an excellent shoulder season destination, with great weather most of the year. See our Lisbon guide here.


The medieval city of Edinburgh ranks high on our list of beautiful big cities in Europe! Filled with history and culture, Edinburgh is an excellent walking city. There’s lots of great view points, and even more excellent coffee shops.. you know we love that! Take a look at our Edinburgh city guide including things to do and best coffee.. you’ll understand why we love the city so much!


Prague is another impressive medieval city that just begs to be explored! Filled with amazing old architecture and interesting modern and ancient history, we found Prague to be one of our favourite big city destinations so far! It’s an extremely walkable city, and offers a lot in all seasons.. think riverside bars in summer and Christmas markets in winter. Try the exceptional Vietnamese food and of course the local beer! See our Prague guide here!


Budapest should be high on the list of those that love good food! It’s one of our top foodie cities in Europe! Additionally, there’s lots to see, and a great scene of outdoor and eclectic ‘ruin bars’ to check out. We only had a short stay in Budapest, but have vowed to return in the future and sample everything it has to offer! See our Budapest guide here!


The Scandinavian city of Copenhagen is truly charming. Think sophistication and class.. it’s a change from other parts of Europe, and something you definitely need to experience. The Nyhavn harbour is picturesque, and the cafe and bakery scene is excellent. Copenhagen makes a perfect ‘beat the crowds’ destination in Europe summer. See our Copenhagen guide here.

5 great ‘Weekend Getaways’ in Europe

One of the best parts about Europe is how close everything is together! You’re either a short train trip and a cheap budget airline flight away from most destinations. Here’s 5 excellent destinations to spend a weekend away in Europe.


The vibrant Spanish city of Seville is intoxicating, filled with amazing beauty, incredible food, and some much to see. It’s the perfect city to drop into for a few days and sample the culture! The tapas are of course the highlight – see our Tapas of Seville guide here! Additionally, the city has beautiful parks and architecture and so much to do! See our Seville guide here!


Istanbul is a cultural melting pot that is as exciting as it can be overwhelming. However, it’s the perfect place to visit for a weekend! Filled with incredible architecture and mosques at one corner, delicious local food on another, and vibrant but chaotic markets to explore. You also have a multitude of excellent smaller neighbourhoods to check out. See our Istanbul guide here!

Lake Bled:

The ‘fairytale like’ region of Lake Bled should be on your bucket list! While you could easily spend a little longer than a weekend here, Lake Bled is the perfect spot for a few days. Add it onto a visit to Venice or Croatia (it’s close). Relax by the lake, hike to stunning view points, and sample some great food! See our Lake Bled guide here!


We love Porto! It flies a little under the radar, resting in the shadows of the more popular Lisbon, but we think it’s a wonderful destination for a weekend visit. With many airports and cheap flights into the destination, it’s an easy addition or weekend away. Think colourful houses, vibrant tile mosaics, lovely architecture, tasty food and good wine! See some highlights from Porto here!


The Norwegian town of Bergen is considered the gateway to the Fjords, located in close proximity to much of Norway’s beautiful nature! Filled with colourful houses and located on the water, Bergen has all the hallmarks of a perfect weekend destination. With direct flights from UK (and other destinations), it’s an easy weekend stop!

Europe’s hidden gems you need to visit

We all love a ‘hidden gem’, and the locations below are definitely off the radar and locations you need to check out before everyone else realizes just how good they are!


The Albanian hilltop town of Gjirokaster is a true hidden gem. Not only is it filled with quaint houses, it has a great hospitality scene, and it a perfect day trip option from the nearby Albanian Riviera. We loved our visit and would highly recommend others to check this little gem out! See our Gjirokaster guide here!


Gallipoli is a coastal town in the idyllic region of Puglia (one of our favourite places in Italy). The tiny walled town has charm, and in summer it is bursting with Italians enjoying the seaside region. Situated close to many popular beaches and small towns, the town itself is definitely worth staying and can be used as a base for day trips. See our Gallipoli guide here!

Lake Ohrid:

Many have never heard of Lake Ohrid, and to them we say.. take a look! Located completely ‘off the radar’ in North Macedonia, Lake Ohrid is a delightful region worth visiting. Filled with great food, cute Ottoman houses and very budget friendly, if you’re looking to step away from the tourist path, we recommend considering Lake Ohrid. See our Lake Ohrid guide here!


Transylvania remains one of our favourite regions in Europe, and one of the most underrated locations we have visited! Brasov is a true hidden gem, and is a bustling little town in the heart of Transylvania. With incredible food, great cafes, and close to lots of day trips, we think it should be high on your list! See our Brasov guide here!


The tiny Bosnian town of Mostar looks like something from a fairytale. Filled with charm, this town also has scars of recent conflict, with the history an interesting backdrop the beauty. Located inland from the Croatian coast, it’s a great location to add onto your visit to Makarska, Split or Dubrovnik! See our Mostar guide here!

5 ‘off the radar’ islands to visit in Europe

We all love an island getaway! Even better if it’s a little off the tourist path! We have listed some amazing island getaways below that should be high on your list in 2024 and beyond!

Lofoten Islands:

This little archipelago is truly a hidden gem that is begging to be explore. Filled with fishing villages, incredible hikes, amazing beaches and so much more! Look past the effort to get there an start researching the Lofoten Islands for your next trip! Visit in 2024 and you may see us there!

Vis Island:

Croatia is home to some of the most picturesque islands in the world! Vis is our favourite, but we know there’s many more to check out! We spent an incredible week on Vis in 2022 and highly recommend it as a base to relax and explore! See our Vis Island guide here!


Italy remains one of the most popular travel destinations in Europe, and the southern island of Sicily is increasingly on the radar of tourists. Home to the popular Taormina, Sicily also has some incredible smaller towns and cities to check out. See our visit to Taormina here!


The Greek Islands are always a good idea, and the ‘smaller’ islands are a great way to beat the crowds. Consider skipping past Paros and visiting the idyllic Antiparos for a few days. Think great food, calmer streets and bright bougainvillea lining the buildings! See our Antiparos guide here!


The little Swedish island of Gotland is where many locals visit in summer. Home to the medieval town of Visby, and many white sand beaches, this island is worth adding to your list of ‘off the radar’ destinations to explore!

5 of the best ‘Beach Destinations’ in Europe

Croatian Coastline:

We would rate the Croatian coastline one of the best in Europe. Think ‘world best’ beaches, amazing islands, great seafood, friendly locals and more! While not as underrated as it was 3-10 years ago, the Croatian coast still has a multitude of smaller towns that are less busy, and it isn’t quite as chaotic as Italy and Greece in summer. A must for those seeking sun-soaked fun!

Albanian Riviera:

An up and coming gem is the Albanian Riviera. Situated in the Balkans, close to the island of Corfu, this region offers incredible beaches and is a budget friendly summer beach location. We put together a complete Albanian Riviera guide to help you plan your visit!

Turkish Riviera:

Don’t sleep on the Turkish Riviera when consider beachside destinations! While the peak of summer can get very warm, the Turkish coastline is the perfect spot to prolong summer and visit in shoulder season! We spent and incredible week at the charming town of Kas in the heart of the Riviera (see Kas guide here). Definitely and underrated coastline!


Ahh Puglia, you have our heart! The ‘heel of the boot’ in southern Italy was one of the first places in Europe that truly ‘stole our heart’. Filled with local charm, cute seaside (and inland) towns, great beaches, and less tourists than other parts of Italy (but it is getting busier as others catch on!). See our complete Puglia guide here which will show you why it should be on your list!

The Algarve:

The southern coast of Portugal is worthy of a place on this list. Filled with stunning beaches flanked by cliffs, cute seaside towns, excellent seafood, and lots to do! The Algarve is definitely a picturesque summer location that we definitely recommend to others! See highlights from our visit to the Algarve here!

A few extra considerations when planning a Europe trip..

Passport & Visas:
  • Passport! Don’t get caught out.. check this as it is a MUST DO! You need to have at least 6 months on your passport from the date you plan to RETURN home! Don’t get caught out here!
  • Check your visa requirements: Yes.. many of the countries are covered by schengen visa’s, however some are not, and not everyone is covered. A quick google search often provides clarity here.
Money $$:
  • Travel credit card and/or debit card. Get a card that will minimize your oversees bank fees. It is very easy to spend $20 or more on a single ATM withdrawal overseas if you don’t have a good card… trust us.. we have done this without realizing. We use the 28 Degrees Credit Card, however probably need to look into better debit card for our next trip.
  • Saving – earlier is better! We we able to save in advance for our Europe trips, and avoid going in to debt to travel. However, we know many people have have put themselves in reasonable amount of debt with a Europe holiday. Whilst we don’t give financial advice, we urge you to think about saving as early as you can to minimise your debt.
Travel Days suck..

Travel days take longer than you think. If a flight says 1 hour, be prepared that the total journey will take at least half a day. Travel days end up taking more time than you think and we advise you to plan for this. Read more about travel days and our tips to ‘beat them’ here!

Travel Insurance:

Don’t think “we’ll be right” and not take out travel insurance. Buying cover is something you pay and hope you never have to use! However, things like medical cover is super important! We have included a link below to Safety Wing, a travel insurance company that we use. We find it is very reasonably priced, and geared travelers like us, especially those doing extended periods of travel. In particularly, Ky loves it as they have policies that cover gear like camera and drones when on the road.

Our Europe Guides

See a list of all our Europe guides below!

Travel destination guides..

Europe Itineraries:
Plan and prepare!

A bit of perspective?

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