Unsure where to go in Europe? Our guide helps you plan the perfect trip!

Cappadocia goreme hot air balloon turkey

The excitement of booking a trip to Europe can soon be met with the confusion of where to visit. There are so many good locations and Google searches often make you even more confused. You friends, dentist, personal trainer and barista all have different recommendations, and none of them are necessarily right or wrong. Even AI isn’t bad when suggesting travel options these days! However, before you even start to decided on the locations, consider the ‘type of trip’ you want to have. Do you want to relax on the beach? Do you want adventures and hiking? How about day trips to small towns? What about underrated big cities? Hidden gems that your friends haven’t heard of? Once you have locked in the style of holiday you want, only then can you consider your destination. Our guide below covers of over 8 different types of trips, with more than 40 recommendations of amazing places to visit, based upon our experiences and travels!

See our top adventure trip recommendations

  • Swiss Mountains: We visited for one week, and could easily have spent longer. The natural beauty, combined with the Swiss sophistication and class.. it’s a yes from us! The Jungfrau region is a must, the lake regions and stunningly picturesque, and Oeschinensee is a top pick! The hikes are easily accessible via gondolas and offer truly spectacular views. See Jungfrau guide here!
  • Lofoten Islands: Jagged mountains framing small bright fishing villages along the coast.. Lofoten is a walking desktop screensaver. The mountains offer a myriad of hikes and the coast offers sandy beaches. It’s an adventure lovers dream!
  • Dolomites: The Italian mountain region up north is high on our must visit list! There are incredible mountain views with hikes aplenty. There’s amazing lakes like Lago di Braise, Lake Garda and more. Plus there are small towns waiting to be explored.
  • Lake Bled: We only visited for a few days, and would love to return! The calm and relaxed nature of Lake Bled was obvious, and the beauty hard to resist. Sitting in a valley shrouded by mountains, there’s lots of smaller hikes, and bigger walks along the top of the nearby mountains. It’s a top pick and very underrated by many! See our Bled guide here!
  • Madeira: The trending destination of 2024 is sure to be high on many adventure lovers lists! The Portuguese island is hard to reach, but it is worth it! Incredible hikes and sweeping views make you feel like you’re in Hawaii not Europe. Once you start investigating this island you’ll likely go from ‘should i visit’ to ‘how many days should I stay for’.

See our top European beach trip recommendations

  • Croatia: Croatia has a special place in our hearts! The beaches and coastline are truly spectacular, and in our opinion, it’s one of the best beach destinations in the world! Visiting the islands is a must, and the ‘Game of Thrones’ Dubrovnik should also be on your list. Check out some of our guides to find more gems along the coast, with Makarska another top pick! See our Croatian itineraries here!
  • Puglia: The southern Italian region of Puglia offers charm, good food, cute coastal towns, hospitable locals and great beaches. Plus, Puglia is definitely more budget friendly than some of the busier and more popular parts of Italy up north. The towns of Polignano a Mare and Gallipoli are a must! Our detailed guide will help you set up the perfect Puglia road trip! See our Puglia itineraries here!
  • Albanian Riviera: The Albanian Riviera is a hidden gem! Offering ‘Croatian-level’ beaches, hidden gem small towns, and excellent budget friendly prices.. it should be high on your list! This region as begun to gain notoriety on social media, and for good reason, so we recommend you visit before this ‘hidden gem’ becomes a little busier. See our 1 and 2 week Albanian Riviera itineraries!
  • The Algarve: Ah Portugal, we love you! While the capital Lisbon is a favourite, the coast is also amazing and should be high on your list. Lining the Algarve are limestone cliffs flanking little calm sandy beaches, creating a setting unlike many others in Europe. Bustling seaside towns bring the vibe, and the seafood is a must try!
  • Turkish Riviera: One of the most eastern points of Europe harbours a top beachside destination.. the Turkish Riviera. The entire coastline has beautiful warm waters, and there’s a multitude of towns lining the coast to visit or stay. We visited Antalya and Kas, and this was enough for us to consider visiting again! Definitely one to consider, and great for those who are budget conscious or want to escape the crowds.

See our top Europe city trip recommendations

  • Lisbon: The Portugese charm is evident in the beautiful capital of Lisbon, one of our favourite cities in Europe. The city is home to the iconic Pastel de Nata (if you know you know) and some of the best food we’ve had on our travels. Lisbon is a vibrant city with so much to offer, from the winding alleys adorned with painted tiles to the day trips to nearby gems (e.g. Sintra). Lisbon also has some of the best weather year round and is an excellent shoulder season destination. See a few top picks in Lisbon here!
  • Budapest: Another underrated city filled with things to do, great food and humming nightlife. Budapest is an excellent walking city, with two contrasting sides located on opposing sides of the river, “Buda” and “Pest”. We found this city to very affordable, and an incredible ‘foodie’ city, with some of the best eats and coffee in Europe! See why we loved Budapest here!
  • Prague: The architecture of Prague is truly stunning, and we found ourselves endlessly marveling as we wandered the streets! The old town of the Czech capital puts many other cities to shame.. it’s that good! As coffee lovers, the cafe/coffee culture is very impressive, and the atmosphere is excellent! A few top recommendations for Prague!
  • Copenhagen: This Nordic gem is worth placing high on your must visit list! Bright fishing harbours, sophisticated Scandinavian style, excellent coffee, thriving culture, and the locals are very friendly! We recommend visiting in summer where the days are long and the outdoor markets are humming! See our detailed Copenhagen guide!
  • Edinburgh: Another old town that punches above it’s weight is Edinburgh! This Scottish city is seriously impressive, and we couldn’t get enough during our stay. Visit for the old town views, and stay for the coffee, food, culture and whisky. If you are visiting the UK, we recommend you add Edinburgh to your list, rating it higher than London. See our guide to Edinburgh here!

See our top regions for day trips in Europe

  • Tuscany: Iconic scenes of rolling hills, vineyards, villas with views and old historic towns are what you’ll find in the Italian region of Tuscany. This area lives up to the hype, and we strongly recommend visiting if you love a good day trip. See our guide for key tips, however having a car is a must to reach the smaller towns and villas! See a guide to Tuscany here!
  • Puglia: This coastal region holds a special place in our hearts, and we will definitely return! Dotted with picturesque seaside towns coupled with inland towns, Puglia is a true gem of Italy that you should check out. It’s an excellent 1-2 week destination. Hire a car and venture to small towns, beaches and more. See why you should visit Puglia!
  • The Balkans: The entire Balkan region is underrated and should be high on your list of places to explore. Involving countries like Croatia, Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia and more, it’s an excellent region to day trip and drive through. We have put together some great itineraries, but a road trip along Croatia with stops through Bosnia, Montenegro and more is truly a great trip! See why we loved the Balkans!
  • Transylvania: The Romanian ‘home of the vampires’, Transylvania hold much more than it’s ‘Count Dracula’ reputation. Filled with vibrant towns, great day trips, and one of the most picturesque highways in the world, it’s a day-trip lovers paradise! Base yourself in Brasov and explore the many small towns around the region! See our Transylvania guide here!
  • The Algarve: The Portuguese region is popular for sun drenched beaches and beautiful seaside towns. The proximity of many towns and beaches makes this region perfect for day trips along the coast. Care hire is relatively affordable and the roads are easy to traverse.
  • Southern France – Provence/Avignon: The Provence region around Avignon is another area we have loved day tripping through. Base yourself in the delightful Avignon and head to nearby towns like Gordes for picturesque day trips. Car hire here helps to reach the smaller towns! See our South of France guide here!

See a few top hidden gem locations

  • Lake Ohrid: A lakeside region filled with old ottoman houses, a historic fortress, great food, and lots of places to swim in summer.. sign us up! Better yet.. most people have never heard of it! Lake Ohrid is located in North Macedonia close to the border of Albania and is definitely a hidden gem. Perfect for a summer getaway where you will avoid the crowds, Lake Ohrid is also wonderfully budget friendly! We spend a week and would definitely return in future! Check out our Lake Ohrid guide!
  • Mostar: This tiny little Bosnian town is picturesque, with the centerpiece definitely the historic old bridge. Mostar is small enough to visit for a day, but we recommend stay a night to enjoy the charm of the town. The town is super budget friendly, located off the tourist path (but close to Croatia), and feels like a walking postcard with views everywhere! Ky has been twice and would return. Take a look at our Mostar guide!
  • Porto: The northern Portuguese city of Porto is delightful. While not as ‘hidden gem’ as some others on this list, it’s definitely off the radar for most travelers. We visited in 2019, spending a few days wandering the colourful streets, sampling the great cuisine, watching sunsets over the river and trying the famous port (hence the name – “Porto”). We highly recommend this town and would love to return. See a few moments from Porto and tips here!
  • Avignon: Brought to our attention a few years ago by a friend, this is another gem to consider! A little historic wall town in southern France, Avignon is definitely underrated. Located in the heart of the Luberon-Provence region, its an excellent base for day trips to nearby towns like Gordes etc. With lots to do, great little squares to sit and people watch, and a fun vibe in the evening, Avignon is a top pick and we loved out stay.
  • Brasov: A colourful, vibrant town with excellent hospitality and coffee culture in the heart of one of Europe’s best day trip regions? Sounds like a great spot to visit! Even better that many western tourists haven’t even heard of Brasov. Located in the heart of Transylvania, Brasov is a wonderful base to explore the region. We stayed for a few days and loved every minute of our stay! Check out why we loved Brasov here!
  • Wengen: A little Swiss town located in the mountains with storybook views of the Lauterbrunnen valley? Say less! This charming tiny town is filled with ski chalets and accessible only via train up the mountain. It’s a walking only town with views at every corner. A top pick and a definite gem! See why you should visit Wengen!

See a few top budget destinations in Europe

  • Albanian Riviera: Rated above as a top beach destination, Albania is also very budget friendly! If you are craving ‘world best’ beaches at a very affodable price, look no further than the Albanian Riviera. It’s a little challenging to get there, however the effort is worth the reward.
  • Lake Ohrid: Another gem mentioned above, Lake Ohrid is ridiculously budget friendly, with accommodation and food costs around 25-30% of what we paid on more popular tourist destinations. With so much to offer, Lake Ohrid is the perfect budget summer holiday!
  • Turkey: Generally, we found Turkey very budget friendly! The coastline was beautiful and much cheaper than destinations like Greece or Italy! Istanbul was a hum of action and had a lot of budget friendly options. Turkey has a lot to offer, and is a beautiful country to visit, even more so if you are looking to save some $$.
  • Romania: Another country that surprised us during our travels was Romania! Not only is it home to one of the most picturesque day trip regions in Transylvania, it has some wonderfully wallet friendly prices. If you are looking for a destination that can offer history, day trips, good coffee and food, Romania might be the destination for you!
  • Portugal: While not the crazy cheap destination it was 5-10 years ago, Portugal still delivers a lot for less, especially when compared to some of its pricier neighbours like Spain and France. Filled with amazing day trips, wonderful history, beautiful beaches, big cities and great food.. Portugal should be high on your list, especially if looking for a cheaper location to visit.

A few top Europe Bucket List Locations that we recommend

Please note, this list is our opinion. We don’t want to talk down other people’s dream bucket list trips or locations. The purpose of this list is to give you some info into what bucket list activities we have done in Europe that ‘lived up to the hype’.

  • Hot Air Balloons in Cappadocia: This is a fairytale like experience that should be on everyone’s Europe bucket list. Seeing the sunrise from the sky amongst hundreds of other hot air balloons is surreal, and something unique to this region. While it is a little expensive, we think this experience is definitely ‘worth the hype’! See our guide to Cappadocia and hot air ballooning here!
  • Oktoberfest: The iconic German festival in Munich is one big party, and was a weekend we’ll remember for a long time. More than just an opportunity to get drunk, Oktoberfest is a cultural tradition for Germans and foreigners alike. Dress in costumes, enjoy some tasty local food, dance to the music, and of course drink the delicious German beer. There’s tents for all types of atmospheres and experiences. See our guide to Oktoberfest here!
  • Hiking the Swiss Alps: The scenery of the Swiss Alps is truly breathtaking! With incredible views at every turn, hiking through here was a bucket list destination we won’t forget in a hurry. If you are an outdoor lover, this experience is a bucket list must do! See a few things you must do when visiting the Swiss alps!
  • Sunsets at Cinque Terre: Sitting beside the colourful hilltop town of Riomaggiore watching the sun set over the water is an incredible experience! We watched the sunset every night during our stay, and recommend it to everyone! See why we loved Riomaggiore here!
  • Stay in a villa in Tuscany: This was a luxury experience that lived up to the hype! Think rolling hills and vineyard views. Combine this with staying in a luxury Italian villa. Drink some amazing local wine. Incredible! A bucket list must! Check out our stay in an incredible Tuscany villa here!

Consider if it’s worth it.. Paris? London? Santorini? We found these 3 ‘bucket list’ destinations to all be a little ‘overrated’ and very touristy.

A few excellent Shoulder Season locations in Europe

  • Turkish Riviera: Turkey has an underrated coastline with incredible beaches! The peak of summer in Turkey reaches temperatures up to 40 degrees, but the shoulder season helps you prolong summer. We visited in September and had wonderful weather with beach days every day! Definitely somewhere we would return to!
  • Sicily: The small Italian island of Sicily is gaining popularity, and for good reason. Beautiful beaches, amazing food, and lots of culture. However, peak of summer Sicily can get quite warm, and the shoulder season is perfect for your visit! We visited in September and still had beach days!
  • Lisbon: Our favourite big city in Europe, Lisbon, is the perfect shoulder season destination. Offering excellent temperatures late into autumn, Lisbon is a great city break in shoulder season.
  • Seville: Seville is the bustling heart of Andalusia, the southern Spanish region known for amazing food, great culture and so much to do! We visited in May, and had beautifully warm temperatures. Seville gets a little too hot in peak summer, but is perfect for shoulder season. Enjoy the amazing tapas, we sure did! Check out our detailed Seville guide!

Want to know more? See our detailed travel guides below

Travel destination guides..

Europe Itineraries:
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