Whilst no one really likes the term “kick the bucket” most of us do like the idea of having a long list of all the places we’d like to visit in this lifetime.
Many of the best places for bucket list travel are in Europe. So why not plan a European trip of a lifetime which ticks off as many European bucket list destinations as possible?
Here are 70 European Bucket List Ideas for travellers to get you started.
70 European Bucket List Ideas
Table of Contents
- 1 70 European Bucket List Ideas
- 1.1 1. Experience the Northern Lights in Iceland
- 1.2 2. The Colosseum in Rome
- 1.3 3. Drink at an Italian Wine Bar in Montepulciano
- 1.4 4. Climb the UK’s Highest Mountain, Ben Nevis in Scotland
- 1.5 5. The Amalfi Coast in Italy
- 1.6 6. Drive the A87 and B roads around the top east side of The Isle of Skye in Scotland
- 1.7 7. Take a Hot Air Balloon Ride over Cappadocia Turkey
- 1.8 8. The Mosaics of Ravenna, Italy
- 1.9 9. Wonder how Stonehenge was created
- 1.10 10. Look up at the ceiling in the Sistine Chapel.
- 1.11 11. Make a wish at the Trevi Fountain in Rome
- 1.12 12. Take the Southwest Coastal Drive 300 Route in Scotland
- 1.13 13. Take a boat trip in Iceland’s Iceberg Lagoon
- 1.14 14. Visit the World’s Oldest Republic, San Marino
- 1.15 15. Climb up Gaudi’s Unfinished Masterpiece in Spain
- 1.16 16. Visit the World’s most famous palace – Buckingham Palace in England
- 1.17 17. Hold up the Leaning Tower of Pisa
- 1.18 18. Look out over Paris from the top of the Eiffel Tower
- 1.19 19. Hear Big Ben Chime
- 1.20 20. Eat in Bologna Italy
- 1.21 21. Go to the Opera in Verona, Italy
- 1.22 22. See the end of the Pilgrimage in Santiago de Compostela, Spain
- 1.23 23. Get Naked in a Spa in Baden Baden, Germany
- 1.24 24. See Mostar Bridge in Bosnia
- 1.25 25. Visit all things Gaudi in Barcelona Spain
- 1.26 26. Watch the sunrise in Paris
- 1.27 27. Watch Tower Bridge open up over the Thames River in London
- 1.28 28. Watch the sunset in Santorini, Greece
- 1.29 29. See the limestone cliffs of Kotor in Montenegro
- 1.30 30. See the Mona Lisa smile at The Louvre in Paris
- 1.31 31. Look at the view over London from the top of St Paul’s Cathedral
- 1.32 32. See the inspiration for Sleeping Beauty at Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany
- 1.33 33. Visit Edinburgh Castle in Scotland
- 1.34 34. See where Dracula was imprisoned at Corvin Castle in Romania
- 1.35 35. See one of the best located castles in the world, Lake Bled Castle in Slovenia
- 1.36 36. Visit the Acropolis in Athens Greece
- 1.37 37. Smell the Lavender Fields of Provence France
- 1.38 38. Stand under the Arc de Triomphe in Paris
- 1.39 39. Visit the Parthenon in Athens, Greece
- 1.40 40. See the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles in France
- 1.41 41. See the Monasteries of Meteora in Greece
- 1.42 42. Walk the streets of Venice in Italy
- 1.43 43. See where East Meets West in Istanbul, Turkey
- 1.44 44. Visit St Petersburg in Russia
- 1.45 45. See the Alhambra in Spain
- 1.46 46. Go on The Sound of Music Tour in Austria
- 1.47 47. Take the Golden Circle Tour in Iceland
- 1.48 48. Watch the sunset in Ibiza Spain
- 1.49 49. Go on a Borough Market Food Tour in London
- 1.50 50. Brandenburg Gate Germany
- 1.51 51. Visit Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom) Germany
- 1.52 52. Look out through the lattice window at The Bridge of Sighs Italy
- 1.53 53. Visit the Berlin Wall Germany
- 1.54 54. Ride The London Eye England
- 1.55 55. Have a beer at Eagle’s Nest Germany
- 1.56 56. Take Vaporetto 1 along the Canalazzo (The Grand Canal) Italy
- 1.57 57. Watch the Ads in Picadilly Circus England
- 1.58 58. Marvel at Pompeii Italy
- 1.59 59. See The Angel of the North England
- 1.60 60. Cross the Rialto Bridge Venice
- 1.61 61. Feel like an excited kid at Miniatur Wonderland Germany
- 1.62 62. Walk the Glassdome at the Reichstag Berlin Germany
- 1.63 63. Walk up the Spanish Steps Italy
- 1.64 64. Have an extremely expensive coffee on Piazza San Marco (St Mark’s Square) Italy
- 1.65 65. Return to Ancient Times at The Roman Forum Italy
- 1.66 66. Tell a lie with your hand in the Bocca Della Verita (Mouth of Truth) Italy
- 1.67 67. See Strasbourg Cathedral France
- 1.68 68. See the Magna Carta at the British Museum England
- 1.69 69. See the Piazza Navona Fountains Italy
- 1.70 70. See the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore Italy
1. Experience the Northern Lights in Iceland
Instead of setting your mind on seeing the Northern Lights, think of the travelling experience as an Aurora hunt. For seeing the Northern Lights, you’ll need long nights and quite a bit of luck. But it’s all made fun with snowmobiles and minibuses trailing through snowy forests in search of the colourful lights.
One of the best ways to give yourself the best chance of seeing the lights is to choose your accommodation wisely. I spent one week in Iceland and saw the Northern Lights twice at my hotels so check out my post on the best hotels in Iceland to see the Northern Lights.
2. The Colosseum in Rome
Damaged by the natural elements, the Colosseum is the largest structure surviving from ancient Rome. A visit to the Colosseum is another item that must be ticked off your bucket list. You’ll also be in one of the most historically rich cities in the world and a foodies paradise.
3. Drink at an Italian Wine Bar in Montepulciano
Montepulciano is quite frankly heaven for wine lovers. This stunning hilltop Tuscan town is ridiculously beautiful and it is just filled with wine. Wineries, red wine, white wine, wine cellars, oak casks, wine shops, wine bars – it really is just wine-tastic! There are so many wineries in Montepulciano.
In addition to all that wine, Montepulciano is also a beautiful hilltop town. It is pedestrianised and full of small steep streets oozing with atmosphere – and some amazing restaurants and wine bars.
The main square of Montepulciano sits right at the top of the town and has a beautiful church and tower.
4. Climb the UK’s Highest Mountain, Ben Nevis in Scotland
Sure Ben Nevis is the highest mountain in the UK. But it’s up and back in the day. And I’ve done Kilimanjaro. I’d climbed Snowdon the year before and whilst it was a big day it was manageable.
I really didn’t think climbing Ben Nevis would be that big a deal. I was very wrong.
Fort William is the outdoor capital of the United Kingdom. There is rock climbing, ice climbing in the winter, trekking, canoeing, kayaking – you name it and Fort William probably offers it.
The reason that Fort William has become the outdoor capital of the United Kingdom is that it is home to Britain’s tallest mountain, Ben Nevis.
I have written a separate blog post on climbing Ben Nevis which I highly recommend you read if you’re interested in taking on the mountain.
The key things to remember are that the weather can change unbelievably fast, it is quite a challenging climb and I highly recommend you go with a guide or in a group.
5. The Amalfi Coast in Italy
The idyllic weather, charming streets and natural beauty have been drawing people from all parts of the globe to the Amalfi Coast. The mountainous coast is dotted with magical vacation homes, hotels and restaurants.
Travelling to the coast between May and October provides you with vibey streets, fantastic weather, cultural events and warm waters. Naturally, the streets and beaches are buzzing with tourists, which means that booking accommodation and transportation is absolutely essential.
The coast is the perfect place for spending an extended trip. The area is made up of 13 different municipalities, each deemed a UNESCO heritage site. Exploring each area reveals new towns with different traditions and aesthetics.
6. Drive the A87 and B roads around the top east side of The Isle of Skye in Scotland
The scenery in this area of the Isle of Skye was absolutely majestic – although of course, it was constantly changing with the weather.
Depending on the weather your first stop can be Quiraing – a very scenic rock formation. There is a walk to the prison but the weather was not on my side so we didn’t risk it.
The Old Man of Storr is also great for photos and is perhaps the most famous walk on the Isle of Skye as well as its icon. The Isle of Skye is one of the highlights of this Scotland Itinerary 7 Days.
Movies have been filmed here and it does have a genuinely magical feel – and a lot of sheep.
7. Take a Hot Air Balloon Ride over Cappadocia Turkey
Stunning Cappadocia is a national park in the middle of Turkey. It is famous for its beautiful landscapes and its fairy chimneys. Much of Cappadocia looks like another world.
The best way to experience Cappadocia is in a hot air balloon as the sun rises. Not only will you have stunning views of the valleys of Cappadocia, but you will also see the beautiful sight of many hot air balloons dotting the sky.
8. The Mosaics of Ravenna, Italy
Lovely Ravenna was the capital of the Western Roman Empire from 402 until 476. As such it has some stunning architecture which has been very well preserved and is home to several UNESCO sites.
But best of all Ravenna has mosaics. I had heard about the mosaics of Ravenna and in all honesty I had never been particularly excited about them. Until I visited Ravenna.
The Basilica di San Vitale, the Basilica di Sant’Apollinare Nuovo and the Galla Placidia Mausoleum all feature what can only be described as jaw droppingly beautiful mosaics over very large areas.
Plus Ravenna is a charming city with lots to explore and some wonderful restaurants.
9. Wonder how Stonehenge was created
Built over 5,000 years ago, the stone circle for which Stonehenge is best known was erected around 2,500 BC. Each stone is about 4 metres high, just over 2 metres wide and weighs about 25 tons.
Stonehenge is owned by the Crown but managed by English Heritage and became a UNESCO site in 1986. Today nearly 1 million visitors head to Stonehenge each year and crowds flock to see the Winter and Summer solstices set in each year.
It is possible to visit Stonehenge for free but alas you will struggle to capture a good photo from that distance. The standard tour of Stonehenge involves a 2.6 mile one way circular path with a handset filling you in on the history of Stonehenge.
⇒ Planning a trip to England or Wales? Don’t miss my posts on the 40 Top English Landmarks, The Crown Filming Locations, Most Beautiful Castles in Cornwall and Boutique Hotels in Cornwall, Boutique Hotels in Kent, Where to Stay in the Cotswolds, 61 Magnificent Landmarks of the UK, Places to Visit in South Wales, Fun Things to do in Cardiff, Luxury Hotels in Yorkshire, Spa Hotels in the South West, Day trip to Brighton, Things to do in Exmouth, Cafes in Exeter, Pubs with Rooms in the New Forest, Ockenden Manor Spa and the Best Things to do in Winchester.
The tour does bring visitors quite close to Stonehenge so it is possible to get some great photos. As always queues at Stonehenge can be lengthy so you may want to book a skip the line ticket for Stonehenge.
10. Look up at the ceiling in the Sistine Chapel.
The Sistine Chapel is is a chapel in Vatican City and a must on any European bucket list. The chapel was restored between 1473 and 1481. However, it was between 1508 and 1512 that Michelangelo painted the ceiling of the chapel in what is regarded as one of the most significant artistic accomplishments of all time.
Today the Sistine Chapel is where the papal enclave is held. This is the process by which a new pope is selected.
It is not possible to visit The Sistine Chapel on its own – you must have a ticket for the Vatican Museums. The Sistine Chapel is actually free to visit once you have a ticket for the Vatican.
⇒ Book your skip the line ticket for the Vatican.
11. Make a wish at the Trevi Fountain in Rome
The Trevi Fountain is located at a junction of three roads and was one of the original sources of water in Ancient Rome. A competition was held in the 1700s by Pope Clement XII for a new design for the fountain. Nicola Salvi was awarded the prize.
The Trevi Fountain was finished in 1762, 11 years after Salvi died. Work on the fountain was completed by four other sculptors. More recently restorations have been conducted in 1988, 1998 and 2013.
Legend has it that if you throw one coin into the Trevi Fountain you will return to Rome. Two coins mean that you will return to Rome and you will fall in love. Three coins mean you will return to Rome, find love and marry.
The coin is supposed to be thrown by the right hand over the left shoulder for maximum results. In 2016 about USD$1.5 million was thrown into the Trevi Fountain. The money goes to the needy of Rome.
The Trevi Fountain is free to visit and gets very busy. The hours between midday and 7 pm tend to be the busiest so do try to avoid them. The fountain lights up once the sun goes down which can make for some lovely photos.
12. Take the Southwest Coastal Drive 300 Route in Scotland
The Southwest Coast Drive 300 Scotland route is considerably less well known – but in many ways just as beautiful.
The route is just over 300 miles and is circular so you can start it in many different spots. A good place to start the South West Coast Drive 300 is Lockerbie.
The South West Scotland 300 can then be followed to Dumfries and then all along the coast to the Mull of Galloway and back up through Girvan.
Read more about Scotland’s least visited region in my post on 11 Things to do in Dumfries and Galloway.
13. Take a boat trip in Iceland’s Iceberg Lagoon
Iceland’s glacier lagoon Jokulsarlon is jaw droppingly beautiful and quite unlike anything that I had ever seen before. It makes total sense that scenes from James Bond movies have been shot here.
Huge blocks of ice break off from the nearby glacier and end up floating in the lagoon. The lagoon isn’t very wide but it is the deepest lake in Iceland at 250 metres.
The best way to see Jokulsarlon is from one of the zodiac boat cruises which run regularly. Don’t miss this amazing lagoon on your European bucket list.
14. Visit the World’s Oldest Republic, San Marino
San Marino is the oldest republic in the world and it has never been taken over by anyone. This small country of just 61 square kilometres sits on top of a hill and overlooks the Italian countryside.
San Marino is home to just 30,000 people but has its own police, its own schools and it doesn’t belong to the European Union. So it isn’t actually Italy strictly speaking but I decided it was okay to put it in this post as it is kind of in Italy.
A hilltop town in Italy is always going to be at least a base level of photogenic. San Marino then has multiple sculptures, is mostly pedestrianized with lovely paved streets, excellent use of flowers throughout the country and amazing views everywhere.
The highlight of San Marino is walking to the very top of the country and its famous three towers which date back to the 11th century.
Another way to get some fantastic views of the Italian countryside is to take the compact San Marino funicular. The funicular will bring you up into the main square of San Marino.
Find out more about San Marino in my post on things to do in Rimini and nearby.
15. Climb up Gaudi’s Unfinished Masterpiece in Spain
La Sagrada Familia is probably one of the first Spanish landmarks you think of when you picture the country. This iconic basilica is truly one of a kind. Designed by the imaginative architect Antonio Gaudi, his signature creative style is on full display.
The construction for the church started in 1882 and still isn’t finished. It’s an ongoing process that isn’t expected to be completed until 2026. The building blends religious elements with natural symbols in an artistic way that will leave you completely mesmerised.
Sagrada Familia receives approximately 4.5 million visitors every year. The number of tickets for sale as well as the entry times is limited. This is definitely a European landmark you want to book a skip the line ticket ahead of your visit.
Tickets can be purchased up to 2 months in advance and are available in 15 minute slots. Once you have entered Sagrada Familia you may stay for as long as you like. Entrance to the towers costs extra.
16. Visit the World’s most famous palace – Buckingham Palace in England
Home to the Queen of England, Buckingham Palace is perhaps the most well-known palace in the world. The palace was originally known as Buckingham House and was purchased for the queen by King George III in 1761.
It became the London residence of the British monarchy when Queen Victoria took the throne in 1837. Today Buckingham Palace is home to Queen Elizabeth and a must on any European bucekt list.
The highlight of many special occasions in the United Kingdom is seeing the Queen and the rest of the Royal Family gather on the balcony at Buckingham Palace to greet the crowds.
⇒ Buckingham Palace is only open to the public between July and October. Visitors can see the State Rooms and the gardens. If you are visiting at other times of the year the closest you can get is outside the gates (which still allows for some good photos), seeing the free changing of the guard, or visiting the Royal Mews.
⇒ Heading to London? Check out my posts on 13 Unusual Experiences in London, the best London Food Tours, my virtual London Travel Blog, some great Earlsfield restaurants, 14 Things to do in Notting Hill, restaurants near Clapham Junction and Victoria Station restaurants, 16 Famous Landmarks in Europe, a mad hatter afternoon tea party and a day trip to Brighton, 18 Landmarks of London from a local, 15 Places to see Sunsets in London, 9 Places to watch the Sunrise in London, 10 Bridges in London Not to Miss and Cotswolds tour from London options. [separator type=”thick”]
17. Hold up the Leaning Tower of Pisa
This freestanding bell tower is not just a famous monument but possibly one of the most famous buildings in the world. The “lean” is nearly four degrees and is because the foundation of the building is unstable.
The tower began to lean during its construction in the 12th century and unfortunately got worse up to its official completion in the 14th century. By 1990 the lean was 5.5 degrees. Repairs work took place during 1993 and 2001 that corrected the lean-to just under 4 degrees.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa is not particularly tall at just over 55 metres – I remember being quite surprised at how small it was when I visited. The tower is located in Pisa’s Cathedral Square and also includes Pisa Cathedral and Pisa Baptistry.
If you’d like to go inside the tower and climb up to the top paid entry is required. It is possible to book a skip the line ticket for the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Otherwise, there is no charge to see the building from the exterior and to take the famous photo where it looks as if you are holding up the tower!
18. Look out over Paris from the top of the Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower is undeniably the most iconic structure in France and the by far, the most photographed, the Eiffel Tower. Standing in sheer wonder, the incredible edifice nestled in Champ de Mars’s centre is the tallest structure in Paris. It stands 324 meters (1,063 ft) tall.
Kicking off the top French landmarks list is undeniably the most iconic structure in France and the by far, the most photographed, the Eiffel Tower. Standing in sheer wonder, the incredible edifice nestled in Champ de Mars’s centre is the tallest structure in Paris. It stands 324 meters (1,063 ft) tall.
Built between 1887 and 1889 by French engineer Gustave Eiffel, the Eiffel Tower is made of iron rather than steel. It was built to be one of the main attractions at the Paris World’s Fair in 1889.
Parisians quickly fell in love with The Eiffel Tower and more than 2 million visited in the first year that it was open. The tower symbolised French know-how and industrial genius.
Today nearly seven million people visit The Eiffel Tower every year. The top of the Eiffel Tower which can be visited is at 276 metres. The other key viewpoint is on what is called the second floor which is at 116 metres.
I highly suggest you take an Eiffel Tower summit tour and climb to the very top; there, you’ll be welcomed with panoramic views of the capital. Though the tower is impressive at any time, it becomes magical at night as its lights twinkle and oozes with romance.
19. Hear Big Ben Chime
As the Eiffel Tower is to Paris, Big Ben is to London. Big Ben is actually a nickname that stuck. The name refers to both the clock and the clock tower that sits at the north end of the Palace of Westminster in London.
The tower was completed in 1859. At that time it was the largest and most accurate clock in the world. Big Ben became a UNESCO listed site in 1987.
In August of 2017 Big Ben was silenced. This market the beginning of a four year project to fully repair and restore bot the clock and the clocktower. They also plan to install a lift which should make life much easier for those charged with keeping Big Ben in good condition ongoing.
The exceptions to the silencing are New Year’s Eve and Remembrance Day. There are no public tours available during the restoration period. However, one clock face can still be seen through the scaffolding.
20. Eat in Bologna Italy
Bologna, Italy is popular as a holiday destination for a variety of reasons. The city has historical appeal, housing the oldest university in the western world.
It also features charming architecture, with over 20 towers dotted throughout the area. As well as numerous grand churches and cathedrals. And some of these historic buildings are home to the loveliest boutique hotels in Bologna.
Although Bologna has a well-preserved historical centre, it still exudes a trendy cosmopolitan character owing to its large student population. Its trendy atmosphere is perfectly complemented by its culinary reputation.
As the capital city of Emilia-Romagna, it forms part of a region with a food history just as old as its celebrated university.
Find out where to stay in my post on Bologna Boutique Hotels.
21. Go to the Opera in Verona, Italy
Home of Opera and Romeo and Juliet lovely Verona also has bags of Italian charm. It is a very walkable city and easy to get around.
The Arena di Verona is a highlight of any trip to this beautiful city in Italy. Visit during the day to get some great photos. I highly encourage you to book opera tickets before you head to Verona.
I am not the biggest opera fan but attending the opera in Verona in this beautiful amphitheater was a very memorable experience.
Climb to the top of Torre dei Lamberti for some fantastic views over Verona and enjoy the square where it is located, Piazza Delle Erbe.
Casa di Giulietta is Juliet’s house. The courtyard area is free to visit but you’ll need to pay if you want to step onto the balcony. Sure it’s a bit cheesy but seeing Juliet’s balcony is a must do in Verona.
22. See the end of the Pilgrimage in Santiago de Compostela, Spain
For centuries, thousands of pilgrims have travelled on St. James’ Way every year, finally reaching the capital of Galicia and entering the iconic Cathedral. According to tradition, this is the burial place of the relics of James the Apostle, discovered in the 9th century.
But Santiago de Compostela is very much a living city, with other attractions for travellers, pilgrim or not: countless restaurants and bars where you can enjoy the delicious seafood of Galicia, a UNESCO World Heritage old town centre, daring contemporary art… There’s plenty to do in this city which combines history with a younger modern side.
Enjoy the amazing local octopus and other seafood delights, head to the Sunday mass which pays special tribute to the pilgrims every week and you can even walk the last couple of kilometres of the Santiago de Compostela.
23. Get Naked in a Spa in Baden Baden, Germany
This gorgeous 2000-year-old town lies at the foothills of the wonderfully named Black Forest. Baden Baden Germany has a fantastic location for exploring the region as well as everything from, of course, spas to shopping to a palatial casino within Baden-Baden itself.
Before you head to Baden-Baden Germany do check what is on. The city is well known for the three international horse races it runs each year – as it is for its Christmas markets.
But this German town is most famous for its spas. Indeed, Baden Baden Germany has 12 hot springs and has been welcoming those seeking to relax and reconnect for centuries.
Today Baden Baden has managed to keep all of those wonderful historical elements but added in more modern spa facilities, fantastic food, modern art and much more.
24. See Mostar Bridge in Bosnia
Lovely Mostar is most famous for its beautiful old bridge, Stari Most, a UNESCO listed site. Mostar is located in Bosnia Herzegovina (it’s the largest city in Herzegovina) but can also be visited as a day trip from Croatia.
The city’s famous bridge was originally built in the 16th century and reaches over the Neretva River. However, the bridge was destroyed during the civil war in the area in 1993. It was rebuilt and declared a UNESCO site in 2005.
This town of light coloured stones is heavily Ottoman influenced and full of market stalls, shops and restaurants.
25. Visit all things Gaudi in Barcelona Spain
Casa Batlló is a big and beautiful building in the heart of Barcelona. Designed in 1904 by famed Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí, it’s considered one of his most famous works of art.
The unique layout of the building is truly mesmerising. It showcases Modern architecture, Expressionist architecture, and Modernisme.
It features unusual tracery, mismatched oval and rectangle windows, protruding balconies, and colourful ceramic tiles. The arched roof has a scaly appearance and has been compared to that of a dragon or a dinosaur. It’s one of the most bizarre and wonderful landmarks of Spain.
The interior is just as fascinating. It’s worth booking a tour to explore the full package.
26. Watch the sunrise in Paris
We all know that Paris is the city of love and I can’t think of a more magical place to watch the sunrise. Whether you are on the hunt for the perfect sunrise photo, want to spend a romantic morning with a loved one, or you’re just up for an early morning adventure, Paris is the place.
The best part about sunrise in Paris is that it’s often the only time you will have the city (almost) all to yourself. Famous landmarks are generally buzzing with excited tourists during the day, which adds to the character of the city.
But during these glorious early morning sunrises, you’ll feel the stillness of the city just before it comes alive. A must do experience on any European bucket list.
27. Watch Tower Bridge open up over the Thames River in London
Completed in 1894, Tower Bridge is perhaps the most iconic of all of London’s bridges. Let’s start with the fact that it is often confused with London Bridge, best known from children’s nursery rhymes.
Tower Bridge is quite beautiful whereas London Bridge is a bit more of a plain Jane. So London Bridge has the brand name fame but Tower Bridge is the supermodel in real life.
The bridge was originally painted in chocolate brown but in 1977 it was repainted in blue, white, and red for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. It looked so fantastic that those colours have remained.
Tower Bridge is also famous for the fact that it is both a suspension and a drawbridge – and that it continues to lift every day. The bridge is 244 metres long and is 42 metres above the Thames. It is both a road and a footbridge and 40,000 people cross it every day.
Unsurprisingly, the bridge takes its name its neighbour the Tower of London.
Take a look behind the scenes at the famous bridge and discover areas such as the machinery room, which houses the hydraulic system that allows the bridge to rise for river traffic.
Plan Your Visit to Tower Bridge to see if you can watch the bridge lift – check the website to find out the dates and times for scheduled bridge lifts.
Entry to Tower Bridge gets you into the engine room, up to some amazing views, and best of all access to the glass floor if you don’t suffer from vertigo. I highly recommend visiting the bridge for the views and that glass floor. NB: It’s handy to combine visiting Tower Bridge with the nearby Tower of London.
28. Watch the sunset in Santorini, Greece
Santorini is one of those idyllic travel destinations people dream about for years. This Greek island in the southern Aegean Sea is a top contender for your travel bucket list, boasting clear blue waters, impeccable beaches, and dramatic views.
When it comes to watching the sun go down, Santorini sunsets are arguably the ones to beat. The lava pebbles scattered along the beach glisten under the Grecian sun, and you can bask in the warm sunlight from one of the many cliffside spots on the island.
I’ve written an entire post on the best spots to see Santorini Sunsets.
29. See the limestone cliffs of Kotor in Montenegro
Kotor is a coastal town in Montenegro which is situated between the majest limestone cliffs of Mt Lovcen and the Adriatic coast. It is extremely scenic – from its location to its small streets to the wonderful views over the city as you hike up the cliff.
The old city is a UNESCO world heritage site and was buit between the 12th and 14th centuries and its city walls have protected the 4 kms of Kotor since that time.
Wander through the old town, check out the many cats that call Kotor home, climb up to the castle of San Giovanni or take a tour of the bay of Kotor.
30. See the Mona Lisa smile at The Louvre in Paris
When you’re in Paris, you’ll certainly not want to miss attending the most visited museum in the world: The Louvre Museum. It first opened in 1793 with an exhibition of 537 paintings, and today, it houses around 38,000 historic objects.
This iconic structure is the world’s largest art museum and is famously known for housing Mona Lisa. The original of this famous painting hangs in the Louvre today and has been since 1804.
Apart from Leonardo Da Vinci’s jaw-dropping painting, you’ll find plenty of other interesting antiques in this mega museum and symbol of Paris.
From Oriental, Egyptian, Roman & Etruscan antiques to the Greek antique section. Aside from antiques and famous paintings, the museum also houses impressive sculptures like the ‘Venus de Milo’.
IM Pei’s iconic glass pyramid was completed in 1989, adding another element to this Parisian landmark.
The Louvre Museum receives over 15,000 visitors per day, so I highly suggest booking a skip the line tour to get your spot in this iconic space. Tickets purchased online ahead of time are slightly more expensive than those purchased at the museum. However, you will be given a timed entry ticket and will not have to queue which I think is worth the extra.
31. Look at the view over London from the top of St Paul’s Cathedral
For over 1400 years St Paul’s Cathedral has stood at the highest point of the City of London on Ludgate Hill. Do remember the actual City of London is a very small part – more like a suburb – of what the rest of the world thinks of as London so this still holds true.
St Paul’s has dominated the London skyline for over 300 years with its famous dome. It is 111 metres high and was the highest building in London until 1963. It is still the highest dome in the world.
St Paul’s has been home to some of the most historic religious events in English history from the funeral of Winston Churchill to the wedding of Price Charles and Lady Diana.
The highlight of a visit to St Paul’s Cathedral London is climbing the 560 steps to the top of the Dome and the Whispering Gallery. This circular enclosure provides fantastic views of the inside of the Cathedral. The outdoor viewing platform offers fantastic views of London.
If you’re visiting on a weekday try to time your trip for 5pm when a choral evensong takes place. The church bell’s at St Pauls are rung on Sundays.
Book your ticket for St Paul’s Cathedral online before you go to save time spent in the queue and for a small discount.
32. See the inspiration for Sleeping Beauty at Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany
This 19th-century castle sits above the village of Hohenschwangau in the southwest Bavarian area of Germany. This German castle is perhaps best known as being the inspiration for the castle in Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty.
King Ludwig II commissioned Neuschwanstein castle as a retreat and in honour of the German musician Richard Wagner. The King personally funded the castle and intended for it to be his home. The town of Hohenschwangau was his childhood home.
I am not sure exactly what it was that Wagner got out of the deal!
Ludwig commissioned a stage designer rather than an architect to bring to life his vision. Alas, Ludwig only spent 11 nights in the castle before he died and the castle was opened to the public just seven weeks after his death.
Today Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany receives over 1.3 million visitors per annum. It is open virtually every day of the year (exceptions are Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Years Eve and New Years Day) with changes in opening hours depending on the season.
As always I highly recommend booking your ticket online before you go and receiving a confirmed time slot for your visit.
33. Visit Edinburgh Castle in Scotland
Human occupation of Castle Rock in Edinburgh Scotland can be traced back to the Iron Age. A royal castle first appeared in the 12th century and by the 17th century, this Scottish castle had become a military barracks.
Today Edinburgh Castle is the most popular paid tourist attraction in Scotland and the second most popular paid attraction in the United Kingdom with over 2.2 million visitors.
Highlights of a trip to Edinburgh Castle are seeing the Scottish Crown Jewels, the Royal Apartments and the gorgeous little St Margaret’s Chapel. Edinburgh Castle also provides stunning views over Edinburgh.
And at 1pm every day Mons Meg, the cannon at Edinburgh Castle, takes fire.
⇒ Heading to Scotland? Check out my Scotland Itinerary 10 Days, Scotland Itinerary 7 Days, Glasgow Tours, Edinburgh vaults tour, things to do in Dumfries and Galloway, things to do in Ayrshire, my guide to Climbing Ben Nevis, 18 Beautiful Places in Scotland and 9 great Spa Breaks Scotland. [separator type=”thick”]
34. See where Dracula was imprisoned at Corvin Castle in Romania
Dracula was said to have been imprisoned in this beautiful castle in Romania. One of the largest European castles, Corvin Castle was built on a hill in the 15th century.
The current castle has been somewhat “updated” to what modern architects think of when it comes to 15th-century gothic castles. This Romanian castle has featured in several movies and tv shows and is associated with several legends, mostly concerning Dracula or Vlad the Impaler.
Corvin Castle is located in Transylvania which is a 6-hour drive from the Romanian capital of Bucharest. The castle is open most days of the year although on Mondays only in the afternoon. Tickets can be purchased on arrival.
35. See one of the best located castles in the world, Lake Bled Castle in Slovenia
There are few castles in Europe that can beat Bled Castle in Slovenia when it comes to both location and view. This medieval castle in Slovenia sits on a hill top above the town of Bled and the beautiful Lake Bled.
First mention of the castle was 1011. The towers came in the Middle Ages and the chapel in the 16th century. It is the oldest castle in Slovenia.
Grab a skip the line ticket for Bled Castle to beat the queues. Your ticket will grant you access to the castle and the top tower and its stunning views.
36. Visit the Acropolis in Athens Greece
At the centre of this history and allure is the vibrant city of Athens. The Acropolis, one of the most famous landmarks in Europe, shines like a beacon atop a rocky outcrop above the city.
The Acropolis Greece was built in the second half of the 5th-century B.C as a home for Athena, the patron goddess of the city. Today, it is a reminder of a rich cultural heritage and is a major attraction.
If you want to avoid the crowds then it’s better to arrive at the Acropolis in Athens early (the site opens to the public at 8 am in both summer and winter).
The Meditteranean sun can also reach uncomfortable temperatures so make sure that you pack water, sunscreen and a hat.
⇒ Book your Acropolis skip-the-line entry ticket and explore the landmark of western civilization.
37. Smell the Lavender Fields of Provence France
Lavender fields are to France what cherry blossoms are to Japan – and they have become even more important in the age of social media. I think we have all seen photos of influencers like myself hanging out in lavender fields, often from behind and wearing a hat!
The most famous area of France of lavender is Provence. Lavender begins to bloom at the end of June and tends to be at its peak mid July. This is also when harvesting starts and the fields will be empty by the middle of August so time your visit carefully.
There are several lavender farms in Provence which offer tours during the peak season. Some of the best places to visit are the Valensole Plateau, Salut, Notre-Dame de Semanque and Drome.
38. Stand under the Arc de Triomphe in Paris
The Arc de Triomphe sits at the western end of the Champs-Elysee in Place Charles de Gaulle and in the middle of one of the scariest roundabouts in the world.
This famous European landmark is a tribute to those who died fighting for France in the Napoleonic and Revolutionary Wars. The names of all French victories as well as the generals are inscribed on the arc. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War 1 lies underneath the Arc de Triomphe.
The Arc de Triomphe was commissioned in 1806 by Napoleon. However, it was not completed until 1836. By this time Napoleon had been banished to Elba. He was never able to see the Arc de Triomphe but his remains passed through it on the way to Les Invalides.
Every year the Bastille Day parade on July 14 starts at this triumphal Arch and the Tour de France also finishes here.
39. Visit the Parthenon in Athens, Greece
Anyone who visits the Acropolis will also have access to the adjacent Parthenon in Athens with a combination ticket. The archaeological site was originally at the heart of religion while Greece was a powerful empire.
Although the Parthenon is in ruins, it was a large and lavish building that told of Greek wealth.
The temple was built between 447 and 432 B.C when the Greek Empire was at its height of influence. Over the years, the bold structure stood against earthquakes, wars, looting and fire.
While it no longer stands complete, the Parthenon is a powerful symbol of ancient Greek culture.
⇒ Book your private Athens full-day sightseeing tour.
40. See the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles in France
What once was the official residence of France’s royals – before the French Revolution – is now a jewel of French Baroque architecture and is by far one of the most beautiful palaces in Europe. The Palace of Versailles contains 2,300 rooms of many kinds and is spread over 63,154 m2.
Feast your eyes on dazzling chandeliers and the painted ceiling in the Hall of Mirrors; it’s truly remarkable. The palace is surrounded by stunning French gardens designed by the famous landscape designer, André Le Notre. You’ll find sculptures, fountains, and water features dotted throughout the area.
With nearly 10 million visitors every year, I highly recommend you book a tour to discover Versailles Palace and Gardens to learn more about this incredible French landmark.
41. See the Monasteries of Meteora in Greece
There are six operating monasteries in Meteora, a place where time and culture seem frozen in time. Made up of a striking rock formation, Meteora is located in central Greece and is home to a beautifully located group of monasteries.
The sight of clustered religious homes on top of the steep rocks is spellbinding. Although the Monasteries of Meteora Greece look tricky to get to, it is surprisingly accessible. It requires visitors to drive to a parking lot and then hike the trail to the monastery that they wish to visit.
Take the time to soak up the incredible panoramic views from the top and bask in the ambient energy of the spiritual sites.
To enjoy this Greek tourist attraction at your own pace, try to plan your route in advance to avoid the crowds and reduce the amount of energy you expend.
42. Walk the streets of Venice in Italy
Canals, waterways and bridges are a bit like good bone structure when it comes to making a city beautiful. And Venice has a lot of all three of those. Venice is actually 117 different islands that are linked by 150 canals and about 400 bridges or pieces of pavement.
Venice is literally built on water. The base of its buildings go deep into the ground. As the soil is so water logged there is no oxygen in it and thus no decay.
Venice and its delights are best explored on foot or by water. The Piazza San Marco is the centre of Venice and home to the magnificent Basilica San Marco – which also has some fantastic views of Venice (it is where I took the photo below).
Don’t miss the Rialto Bridge, the many Venetian Palaces, the Accademia Gallery and the Bridge of Sighs. Or a trip to the home of beautiful coloured glass Murano.
My personal favourite way to experience Venice is on Vaporetto Line 1. This water bus allows anyone to see Venice from the water (where it is often at its most beautiful), mingle with the locals, and really experience one of the world’s most beautiful cities.
43. See where East Meets West in Istanbul, Turkey
Istanbul in Turkey is literally where east meets west. This beautiful city is the perfect place to get your feet wet so to speak if you’re keen to explore the Middle East or Africa. This atmospheric city has all the magic of the Middle East and North Africa with a slightly more European feel.
The Blue Mosque is possibly Istanbul’s most famous attraction. The mosque has six minarets or towers and several domes. It isn’t actually blue – it was named the Blue Mosque because of its beautiful interior tiles – but it is absolutely stunning.
Two of top places to visit in Istanbul – The Blue Mosque and Hagia or Aya Sofya – are located on the same main square in the Istanbul neighborhood of Sultanahmet. Very convenient.
Hagia Sofya has had several lives. It began as an Orthodox Cathedral and was turned into a mosque. In 1935, Ataturk proclaimed it a museum – although it is still considered by many to be the second biggest cathedral in the world.
Topkapi Palace is one of my favourite Istanbul tourist attractions. This palace was used between the 15th and 19th centuries and apparently was a hot place to go during the Ottoman Empire.
The Grand Bazaar or Kapali Carsi is the largest covered market in Turkey with over 4,000 shops. This market contains everything you could ever imagine needing.
44. Visit St Petersburg in Russia
Like Venice, St Petersburg is spread across a mix of big and small islands, setting it up for being one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The city itself also has several fairytale like ornate buildings and it is also considered the cultural capital of Russia.
Perhaps the attraction for which St Petersburg is best known is the Hermitage Museum. Not only does the Hermitage contain 3 million works of art, it is also in a beautiful confection of a building and filled with stunning rooms, arches, staircases and more architectural features.
The beautiful cathedral at the Peter and Paul fortress would also look happily at home on the top of an elaborate cake. However, this cathedral almost looks plain next to the amazing onion-domed Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood (also a great name – Alexander 11 was assassinated on this spot).
The lovely River Neva and a series of canals are at the heart of St Petersburg and some of its most beautiful features. Stroll along the waterfronts as the sun sets and see this beautiful city from the water on a cruise.
45. See the Alhambra in Spain
The Alhambra in Granada is one of the most famous landmarks in Europe. Its timeline traces back to 889 CE when it was constructed as a small fortress. Then in the 13th century, it was rebuilt to serve as the palace and fortress for the Nasrid dynasty.
The lavish Moorish architectural style is on full display throughout the complex. The interior is decorated head to toe with ceramic tiles, ancient calligraphy, ornamented windows, and other intricate detailing. It’s truly a marvel of Islamic architecture and culture.
The expansive grounds comprise numerous sites, including the Nasrid Palace, Charle V’s Palace, the Alcazaba, and the gorgeous Generalife Gardens.
The best way to explore the different areas is by booking a skip the line ticket for the Alhambra.
46. Go on The Sound of Music Tour in Austria
Beautiful Salzburg and its surrounding areas in Austria is where the famous movie The Sound of Music was filmed – as well as where some of the real-life events took place.
The major scenes for the movie were shot in the city centre, just outside and then further afield. In the city centre is the Palace of Mirabell where the Do-Re-Mi scene was shot and St Peter’s Cemetery was where the tension-filled shots towards the end of the Sound of Music were filmed.
Nonnberg Abbey is not only the oldest female convent north of the Alps it was home to the real Maria AND where the movie was filmed.
There are then 3 more locations in the city centre, 3 close by and 4 locations further afield. The best way to see it all is definitely a tour.
This will also provide far more context with stories about the filming itself and insider gossip. Plus when you join the bus trips they tend to play the movie so time to sing.
As you might expect there are quite a few options when it comes to Sound of Music Salzburg tours.
⇒ Austria has everything from mountains to lakes to fantastic food to the Sound of Music and so much more – find out where to go in my Austria Itinerary, Innsbruck Highlights and the best things to do in Graz.
47. Take the Golden Circle Tour in Iceland
The Golden Circle tour is Iceland’s most popular day trip. This is generally a full day tour which departs from Reykjavik around 8am and returns at 5pm. If your flight is arriving a bit later you can opt for an afternoon tour around the Golden Circle.
The core of the Golden Circle tour is the following 3 activities. The first is Thingvellir Park. The park is a UNESCO world heritage site and holds historical significance – it’s the location where Iceland’s first parliament was held.
Thingvellir National Park is located 40-minutes from Reykjavik and has several attractions. It’s geologically unique, where you can see a continental divide between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates.
After exploring the park, it’ll be a 40-minute drive to the Geysir thermal area. “Geysir” is a geyser in the geothermal area along the Golden Circle. Get your cameras ready to snap pictures of bubbling mud pots, springs shooting up boiling water and steaming air from the earth.
Just a quick 10-minute drive from Geysir is one of Iceland’s most iconic falls found in the Hvítá glacial river. Gullfoss a wide, two-tiered waterfall that cascades down a 32-meter drop. For me this was the most stunning waterfall in Iceland.
48. Watch the sunset in Ibiza Spain
Ibiza is known as the party island of Europe and is famous for its beach clubs, night clubs and music scene. But it is also home to some amazing sunsets.
Whether you want to be larging it up on the famous Sunset Strip or sipping cocktails in a beach bar, watching sunsets in Ibiza is a serene moment. It’s the perfect time to wind down, just before the island gets pumped up and brims with partygoers.
49. Go on a Borough Market Food Tour in London
Borough Market is one of the oldest and largest food markets in the United Kingdom. Markets have been held on this location since the 12th century.
However, there is nothing old-fashioned about Borough Market today. Borough Market has a strict policy about the vendors it allows into the market, ensuring all suppliers are of the highest quality. Many of London’s top restaurants source their ingredients at Borough Market at places like the Ginger Pig.
The area is also home to some of London’s best restaurants like Roast, El Pastor and Padella. As Borough Market is so large, going on a food tour is a great way to experience the market in a short time frame – and to make sure that you get lots of good samples.
50. Brandenburg Gate Germany
The Brandenburg Gate was commissioned as an entrance to Berlin’s most famous road, Unter den Linden, by Frederick William II. Construction of the gate finished in 1791.
The Brandenburg Gate has had a starring role in many of Berlin’s most well known moments. Napoleon paraded from Brandenburg Gate in 1806 after the Prussian defeat. Between 1814 and 1919 only the Royal Family was able to pass through the central archway.
The Nazis often used Brandenburg Gate as a party symbol. The gate managed to survive World War II albeit with some major damage. After the war, Brandenburg Gate was located in the Soviet zone. The Berlin Wall passed directly by the western side of the gate which meant passage was again closed.
After the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, Brandenburg Gate came to symbolise freedom and the re-unifacation of Germany.
51. Visit Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom) Germany
The Cologne Cathedral, also known as Kölner Dom, is one of the largest cathedrals in Europe and began construction in the 1200s. The Classical Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Mary is located on the banks of the Rhine and is an astonishing masterpiece of High Gothic architecture.
The cathedral took over six centuries to build and reaches an impressive height of 157 meters. It’s the tallest twin-helical church in the world and is one of Germany’s most visited landmarks.
To see some panoramic vistas over the city and river, climb the 533 steps to the viewing platform (in the south Tower). Alternatively, book a tour to discover more of Germany’s most iconic landmarks. The cathedral is open every day from 6:00 am to 8:00 pm.
52. Look out through the lattice window at The Bridge of Sighs Italy
This iconic Venetian bridge was built in 1600 to connect the Doge’s Palace to the prison across the canal. The bridge was constructed to take prisoners who had been sentenced at Doge’s Palace to their cells in the prison. The Bridge of Sighs has a small window. Legend has it that prisoners would sigh deeply when they saw this last glimpse of the outside world and thus the Bridge of Sighs became the name of this bridge in Venice.
The bridge is made from white limestone and was designed by Antonio Contino, the nephew and apprentice of Antonio Da Ponte, designer of the Rialto Bridge. The bridge is virtually enclosed apart from the two small windows with lattice screens. A stone wall divides the interior of the Bridge of Sighs so that prisoners coming and going would never pass each other.
It is tradition to kiss your loved one on a gondola under the Bridge of Sighs.
53. Visit the Berlin Wall Germany
Overnight on August 12, 1961 the East Germany Army began sealing off the streets and railway lines providing access to West Berlin. A wall was then erected along the sector border. The 167 kilometre wall encircled West Berlin until 1989.
The Berlin Wall fell on November 9, 1989. Germans from both the East and the West crossed the wall and then took hammers to it in an event which was watched all over the world.
The Berlin Wall didn’t fall cleanly, chunks were left. Local artists began using these to make street art in what has now become known as The East Side Gallery. In 1990, more than 100 artists from over 20 countries decorated what was the last stretch of the Berlin Wall. One of the best ways to see the Berlin Wall today is to hire a bike and ride the Berlin Wall Cycle Route.
54. Ride The London Eye England
What better way to see a London than from the London Eye – nestled in the heart of the city. Choose from one of the 32 capsules to soar above the city, drinking in a 360-degree view of London and the ever-changing skies.
Rising before the South Bank, the iconic Ferris wheel allows its visitors to catch views of the River Thames, glimpse Buckingham Palace, and Big Ben. And on a clear day, you’ll be able to see as far as Windsor Castle in the distance.
Sunset rides on the London Eye are especially popular, so don’t forget to book your seat in advance if you want a guaranteed ride during sunset.
If you don’t get a spot on the wheel, why not take a London Eye River Cruise on the River Thames to catch the stunning sunsets.
55. Have a beer at Eagle’s Nest Germany
Known in Germany as “Kehlsteinhaus” Eagle’s Nest was given to Hitler as a present for his 50th birthday. It is located in the Obersalzberg mountains and overlooks the small town of Berchtesgaden. This was a particularly impressive gift as it is located on Germany’s steepest road. Eagle’s Nest remains an engineering marvel.
In 1960 Eagle’s Nest was returned to the German govenrment and they turned it into a beer garden and restaurant. There is no mention of its previous owner.
56. Take Vaporetto 1 along the Canalazzo (The Grand Canal) Italy
This 3800 metre long waterway splits the city of Venice into two sides. Seen from above, the Grand Canal takes the shape of an S. Ships of over 400 tons used to sail down the Grand Canal in Venice. Beautiful buildings line the canal (one of the first examples of expensive real estate for water views).
Four different bridges cross the Grand Canal: The Constitution Bridge (Ponte Della Costituzione), Ponte Degli Scalzi, the Rialto Bridge and the Accademia Bridge. Explore the Grand Canal by crossing these bridges or take a vaporetto through the Grand Canal to get some gorgeous views.
The Grand Canal ends in St Mark’s Square with a stunning view of Saint Mark’s Square, Doge’s Palace, the Bell Tower, the church of Salute, and Custom Point. The houses along the Grand Canal continue to be the most desirable real estate in Venice (and possibly Italy, Europe, and the world)!.
57. Watch the Ads in Picadilly Circus England
Picadilly Circus is located in the heart of London and perhaps best known for its bright neon advertising display. The circus is also home to the Eros fountain. It is very easy to find as exiting Picadilly Circus tube station will bring visitors into the heart of Picadilly Circus.
Picadilly Circus is located very close to several well known parts of London. On one side is Regent Street, filled with some of the most prestigious shopping in London and famed for its beautiful architecture. Shaftesbury Avenue takes visitors into the heart of Soho and Chinatown. And Leicester Square is only a five minute walk away.
58. Marvel at Pompeii Italy
This ancient town near Naples is one of Italy’s most popular tourist attractions, with around 2.5 million visitors annually. Pompeii was once a lively city until Mount Versuvius erupted – covering everything in larvae and turning the city into an archaeological site.
Top attractions to see in Pompeii include the Thermal Baths, Great Theater of Pompeii and Temples. You’ll also get to see preserved artworks and mosaics.
Taking a guided tour here is highly recommended, as you’ll not only learn about Pompeii’s history but also get to skip most of the queues. If you’d like to discover the ruins on your own, you can easily catch a train from Naples or Rome.
59. See The Angel of the North England
This sculpture which stands over the city of Newcastle is probably the most famous piece of art in England. Created by Anthony Gormley, the statue was erected in 1998 in Gateshead. The Angel of the North is 20 metres high and 54 metres wide and thought to be the largest sculpture of an angel of anywhere in the world.
60. Cross the Rialto Bridge Venice
The Rialto Bridge is the first one built along the canal in Venice. It began as a wooden drawbridge that permitted sailing ships to travel between St Marks basin and the Piazzale Roma area. In 1588 the Rialto Bridge was re-built in white marble and until 1854 it was the only bridge which crossed the Grand Canal.
This Venetian bridge is 48 metres long, 22 metres wide and 7.5 metres high. It has three parallel staircases and several small arcades. This area is also well known for the Rialto Market which is open every day apart from Sundays. The market runs from the San Polo area to Rialto Bridge.
61. Feel like an excited kid at Miniatur Wonderland Germany
Miniatur Wonderland isn’t really a landmark – well it is but it is enclosed and made up of tiny elements. Miniatur Wonderland is the second most popular paid attraction in all of Germany – after the famous Sleeping Beauty Castle Neuschwanstein. This is the largest model railway exhibition in the world.
I appreciate that this doesn’t sound terribly exciting – I thought the same thing. But trust me – you do not want to miss Miniatur Wonderland.
The model railway was started by twin brothers Gerrit and Frederik Braun in 2004. Even the local tourism board thought that they were both mad.
But they now run one of Germany’s most loved tourist attractions which receive over 18 million visitors every year.
There are more than 15kms of train tracks, 389,000 lights and 263,000 figures in the model railway. Day and night simulations run every 15 minutes.
The most extraordinary thing about this Hamburg museum is the level of detail. Check out the apartment buildings in Hamburg. Every little room will have a different person or person doing different everyday activities.
The entire thing is just extraordinary and so interesting – particularly the airport.
62. Walk the Glassdome at the Reichstag Berlin Germany
The Reichstag is the home of the German Parliament. The building was originally designed by Paul Wallot and was modelled after Memorial Hall in Philadelphia. It was completed in 1894. The building was badly damaged in 1933 by fire, an event which marked the end of the Weimar Republic.
After the war, West Germany’s parliament moved to Bonn and the building fell to ruin. Resorations began in 1961 and were completed in 1964. In 1990 the building was the site of the official reunification ceremony and in 1991 it was decided that German Parliament would return to the Reichstag.
Between 1995 and 1999 Norman Foster oversaw renovations to the building and construction of the stunning glass cupola. This mirrored cone directs light into the building. The dome itself can be visited via two large steel ramps that take the form of a double helix.
63. Walk up the Spanish Steps Italy
The Spanish Steps date back to 1723. This steep set of steps run between the Piazza di Spagna at the base to Piazza Trinita dei Monti at the top at the eastern end of the old city centre.
The staircase was designedy by Francesco De Sanctis and were originally built to link the Bourbon Spanish Embassy and the Trinita dei Monti church to the Holy See and Spanish square. There are 138 steps and they are a mix of curves, straight flights and terraces. Azaleas adorn the Spanish steps from April through to the end of May each year.
As of 2019, tourists were no longer able to sit on the Spanish steps and there are major fines. This new law was brought in to protect the marble of the stairs.
64. Have an extremely expensive coffee on Piazza San Marco (St Mark’s Square) Italy
St Mark’s Square is Venice’s main square and the only one with the title of Piazza (most of the rest are referred to as Campi or fields). Without question this is one of the most magnificent squares in the world. Yes, a coffee at St Mark’s Square will cost almost as much as your dinner in Venice but it is worth it to sit and sip in one of the world’s most beautiful places.
At the eastern end of the square is St Mark’s Basilica. On the north side of St Mark’s Basilica are two marble lion statues in a small area known as Piazzetta San Giovanni XXIII. Just past the lions is St Mark’s Clocktower which was was completed in 1499.
A long arcade runs along the north of St Mark’s Square with buildings known as the Procuratie Vecchie or the old procuraracies. Today this arcade is filled with shops and restaurants. It is home to one of the two most well known cafes on the square, Caffe Quadri.
The south side of Piazza San Marco is known as the Procuratie Nuove. This side is also home to shops and restaurants and the second most well know cafe, Caffe Florian.
65. Return to Ancient Times at The Roman Forum Italy
The Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill are lcoated in the same archaeological area and it is possible to walk freely between the two. When visiting these Rome monuments you may well feel tht you have returned to ancient Rome.
The Romans drained this area (it was marshland) to turn it into a city. The Forum was the marketplace of Rome and later a site for criminal trials, gladiator matches and processions.
Today the site is ruins but at the time it was home to the most important buildings in the ancient city. The oldest monuments within the Roman Forum date back to the first kings of Rome in the sixth century BC.
The Forum was abandoned in the Middle Ages. It was not until 1898 that excavations began and this archaeological site was discovered.
66. Tell a lie with your hand in the Bocca Della Verita (Mouth of Truth) Italy
Have you seen the classic Audrey Hepburn movie Roman Holiday? I adore it – and one of my favourite moments in the film is when Gregory Peck shows her character the Mouth of Truth. There many theories about when the Bocca Della Verita was created. The Mouth of Truth dates back to the first century AD.
This statue is a tall stone disc with a human face carved into it with hollow holes for eyes and a gaping mouth. The belief around the statues is that if you were to stick your hand into the gaping mouth of the Bocca Della Verita and tell a lie it would bite off your hand.
67. See Strasbourg Cathedral France
This magnificent Catholic Cathedral is considered to be one of the best examples of Rayonnant Gothic architecture. It is over 1000 years old and sits on what was the site of a Roman temple.
The building of Strasbourg Cathedral took the entire 13th century – something to keep in mind if you are building or renovating yourself! Today it is the sixth tallest church in the world. This is quite incredible considering that the highest structure of the church was built in the Middle Ages.
One of this gothic church’s most famous elements is its astronomical clock. The mechanics of the clock date back to 1842. At half-past 12 every day the movements of the clock’s characters attract the crowds.
68. See the Magna Carta at the British Museum England
Founded in 1753, the British Museum was the first public museum in the world. The museum covers all fields of human knowledge and entry remains free of charge.
When it opened in 1759 it was intended by Parliament that it would open its doors for “all studious and curious persons”. Today, the British Museum receives over 6 million visitors a year.
The museum is located in the heart of Bloomsbury in London. It has four wings and 43 columns inspired by Greek temples. It was intended to emulate Greek architecture.
Highlights of any visit to the British Museum include visiting the Reading Room which was completed in 1857 and the considerably newer Great Court, which opened in 2000.
The Great Court is certainly my favourite area of the British Museum. It is a two acre space enclosed by a beautiful glass room and the Reading Room sits at the middle.
The magnificent glass roof is made up of 3,312 individual panels, and no two panels are the same shape. The roof is just over 26 metres above floor level at its highest point, giving a fantastic feeling of space to the area.
The museum is divided into different galleries which are organised by periods of time or locations. As you would expect, the British Museum gets very busy.
Tickets must be booked online whether they are for the general free admission or for paid exhibitions.
The beautiful Piazza Navona is home to three stunning fountains. Fontana Dei Quattro Fiumini was constructed for the Pope in 1651. The fountain was designed by Bernini. The centrepiece of the fountain is a tall obelisk which is surrounded by four figures which represent the great rivers of the world: Nile, Ganges, Danube and Rio de la Plata. I was pleased to discover that Australia had been discovered at this time but not explored and thus was left out of the fountain.
A dove, olive branch and the Pope’s coat of arms can be found at the bottom of the fountain.
Fontana di Nettuno is the second of the three fountains in Piazza Navona. This fountain was built in 1576 by Giacomo della Porto. The Neptune statues were added in the 19th century. The main figure of the fountain is the God of the Water Neptune. Neptune is shown in battle with an octopus.
The third fountain is Fontana del Moro which is at the southern end of the Piazza.
70. See the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore Italy
This Renaissance-inspired church is the third-largest in Italy, standing 90 meters wide and 152 meters long. Arnolfo di Cambio was responsible for designing it in 1296, but it was the architect Filippo Brunelleschi who added the cathedral’s prominent dome during the 15th century.
The exterior of the Duomo di Firenze has been done with stunning, colourful marble work. Inside, you’ll find spectacular artworks adorning the ceilings.
The cathedral is located in the square Piazza del Duomo, and entrance is free. However, you’ll need to purchase tickets to see the other monuments in the square, such as Giotto’s Campanile.
I covered all of the costs involved in writing this European Bucket List post. However, this article does includes affiliate links. That means if you click through and end up making a purchase I will receive a small commission. I wanted to make sure you were aware of this.