Europe has an extraordinary range of diverse landscapes in its 44 countries. I appreciate that I have chosen nearly half as being the most beautiful countries in Europe but how on earth do you narrow it down any further? Even this was a struggle.
Europe has natural beauty, culture, long histories and an amazing amount of diversity given how physically close many of these countries are to each other. I have listed a few of the most beautiful places in each country to help you fill out some travel bucket list ideas.
Here are the 21 Most Beautiful Countries in Europe in the opinion of this travel blogger. And just so you know I have personally been to every single country on this list!
21 Most Beautiful Countries in Europe
Table of Contents
- 1 21 Most Beautiful Countries in Europe
- 1.1 1. Czech Republic
- 1.2 2. Italy
- 1.3 3. Spain
- 1.4 4. Greece
- 1.5 5. Croatia
- 1.6 6. Iceland
- 1.7 7. Scotland
- 1.8 8. France
- 1.9 9. Switzerland
- 1.10 10. Norway
- 1.11 11. Slovenia
- 1.12 12. Austria
- 1.13 13. Montenegro
- 1.14 14. Germany
- 1.15 15. Sweden
- 1.16 16. Malta
- 1.17 17. England
- 1.18 18. Latvia
- 1.19 19. Portugal
- 1.20 20. Ireland
- 1.21 21. San Marino
1. Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is home to beautiful old European cities, national parks, fairy tale castles and much more. Here are some of the highlights:
- Cesky Krumlov – this southern Bohemian town is a UNESCO world heritage site. Filled with Renaissance architecture, this beautiful town is wrapped around a bend in the Vltava River and has a beautiful 13th-century castle as well.
- Karlovy Vary Region – Czech Republic’s second smallest region is home to its world-famous hot and cold springs and ridiculously picturesque Czech spa towns Karlovy Vary, Marianske Lazne, and Frantiskovy Lazne. And don’t miss the insanely cute Loket and its castle.
- Kutna Hora – another UNESCO World Heritage Site that was once a silver mining town. Located just 50 miles east of Prague, the town is a mix of architectural treats – don’t miss the gothic cathedral of St Barbara.
- Hruboskalsko – an amazing rock formation with hundreds of sandstone towers that have gradually eroded over time. Some of the rock towers are as high as 55 meters. If you’re not into rock climbing head to Hlavatice Lookout Rock for all the views.
- Prague – without question one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. Prague’s Old Town is incredibly charming with its Astronomical Clock and beautiful buildings. Just outside the old town is Charles Bridge, Wenceslas Square and of course Prague Castle, the world’s largest ancient castle.
It would be much easier to list the places in Italy that aren’t beautiful rather than trying to come up with a relatively short list. Personally, I think that Italy is the most beautiful country in the world – the views are of course helped along by the outstanding food, wine and coffee. These are just a sample of some of the highlights:
- The Amalfi Coast – some of the world’s windiest, skinniest roads perched on cliffsides twist between postcard beautiful towns like Positano and Sorrento and many more
- Sicily – this stunning island has Mt Etna, the jaw-dropping Stromboli islands, the views that are Taormina, the endlessly charming Syracuse and Noto plus cannoli and more in Sicily.
- Puglia – doesn’t get the high PR coverage of some of the other areas of Italy but Puglia is where Italians go on their vacations. Beautiful beaches, Trulli villages, sunsets to die for, and far fewer tourists.
- Tuscany – it is world-famous because it is so spectacular. From delightful Sienna to the old-style “skyscrapers” of San Gimignano to my personal favourite Montepulciano (a hilltop town where every second building is a wine bar) there is just all wonderful things Italian everywhere.
- Rome – has enough amazing fountains, bridges and monuments to make ten countries tourist destinations. Almost every step reveals a new stunning sculpture or church or landmark. And then there is the food. And the shopping.
Read more about Italy in my posts on the 15 beautiful cities in Italy, best places to visit in Puglia, 7 Charming Sardinia Boutique Hotels, 16 Beautiful Bridges in Rome, 18 Venetian Palaces to Visit or Sleep In 27 Must-See Landmarks in Venice, 20 Beautiful Fountains in Rome, 25 Rome Monuments, 24 Famous Landmarks in Italy and the Best Ski Resorts in Italy.
Rich history, so much stunning coastline, picturesque towns, cobblestone streets in old towns, famous landmarks, natural wonders – Spain has so much on offer. And you can enjoy tapas and Cava whilst you take it all in!
- Barcelona – a stunning city by the beach with phenomenal Gaudi architecture, Las Ramblas, Tibidabo, and funiculars and jaw-dropping beauty around every corner.
- Seville – this atmospheric city in the south of Spain buzzes with the spirit of its renowned flamenco dancing and music. Plus don’t miss the tiles (trust me) at Plaza de Espana and its oh so stylish bullfighting ring Plaza de toros de la Real Maestranza de Caballería de Sevilla.
- The Alhambra – constructed in 889 by the Moors and then renovated by Christian kings in the 16th century, this extraordinary castle, which of course sits on a hill, has so much to explore plus outstanding views of the beautiful city of Grenada and beyond.
- Canary Islands – in the United Kingdom the Canary Islands are often seen as fly and flop tourist holidays. They have got that so wrong. These beautiful islands are closer to Africa than Europe and have amazing volcanoes and other natural highlights plus outstanding beaches, sand dunes, cactus gardens and so much more. I’ve written quite a bit about Gran Canaria and Lanzarote.
- Santiago de Compostela – my personal favourite city in Spain. This is the end of the Camino de Santiago and home to possibly the most stunning Cathedral that I have seen in my travels and it is a true Spanish landmark. The town is so charming – and then there are the amazing delights of the Galicia region – don’t miss the pulpo.
From historic Athens to more than a thousand islands plus a great location in the Aegean Sea, Greece is filled with beauty and landmarks. Here are a few highlights:
- Santorini – yes it is the most famous of the Greek islands and can be very touristy but you can’t beat a Santorini sunset.
- Paxos – a less well-known Greek Island, Paxos is an Ionian island so it is much farther north than Santorini and Mykonos. That means it is also much greener than the southern Greek Islands. Beautiful Paxos has the laid-back charm that you always dreamed of on a Greek island.
- Athens – Greece’s capital city filled with some of the most amazing historic sights and landmarks in the world.
- Meteora – this UNESCO world heritage site is a complex of six monasteries from the 14th century that is perched on top of sandstone pinnacles.
- Kefalonia – made famous by the novel Captain Corelli’s Mandolin which was set on the island. Beautiful beaches, a more traditional way of life, and bright blue water.
⇒ Read all about Paxos Greece as well as the best Paxos restaurants and Paxos beaches. Or find out how to get from Santorini to Ios, the best things to do in Ios and a complete guide to Mylopotas Beach. And don’t miss 11 Famous Greek Landmarks and my 10 Days in Greece Itinerary.
Another country with over 1,000 islands, Croatia sits on Mediterranean seas that look like they have just been washed. This long thin country is also home to one of the most spectacular coastal roads that I have every seen.
- Plitvice Lakes National Park – UNESCO protected, this national park in Croatia is home to bubbling waterfalls, cascading waterfalls and so much greenery. There are loads of hiking trails, cute footbridges and wildlife.
- Dubrovnik – the first time I visited Dubrovnik I couldn’t believe that an old city could be made from white marble. The contrast of the white marble roads and buildings with their red rooftops and green window shutters is extremely beautiful. View the city by walking around the top of the old city walls and don’t miss it at night.
- Hvar Island – glamourous harbours filled with expensive boats, more cute red rooftops, and white buildings offset against crystal clear blue waters, lavender fields, fantastic rock beaches – a little slice of heaven.
- Zlatni Rat Beach, Brac – this beach changes shape based on the current. The whitest of white sands against the brightest blue water.
- Rovinj – the Italian side of Croatia – cobbled streets, atmospheric piazzas, Venetian style houses, an old town and a harbour.
Visiting Iceland is like visiting another world. There should be a filter called Iceland that can be put on photos of everywhere else in the world. The air is unbelievably clean and clear and that is then reflected in a pure light that hits the greenest grass you have ever seen in the summer and changes the shades of the lava rocks on which this island is built.
- Gulfoss – it is one of Iceland’s top attractions and part of the famous Golden Circle tour but can’t not be on this list. Iceland has a huge amount of stunning waterfalls but this one is the biggest. It is actually two separate waterfalls.
- Jokulsarlon Lagoon – the Iceberg lagoon. It is like something out of a James Bond movie because it was in a James Bond movie. Unforgettable. And don’t miss Diamond Beach across the road.
- Geysir – the geothermal portion of the Golden Circle tour. Home to bubbling mud pots and springs shooting boiling water and steam into the air. Try to get there in some morning or late afternoon light for the best photos.
- Egilsstadir and Lagarfljot – explore the beauty of East Iceland
- The Northern Lights – the Northern Lights are operating all year round in Iceland but can only be seen when the skies are clear. I managed to see them twice in one week when I visited in October one year. For me, it is all about finding the right hotel for the Northern Lights and organising a wake-up call.
⇒ Iceland is one of the most stunning places to visit in Europe. You can head Inside A Volcano, read my Blue Lagoon Iceland Review, check out Iceland Northen Light Hotel options, explore 3 Days in Iceland, my 5 Day Itinerary Iceland and read my Iceland Travel Blog.
There is something quite magical about Scotland. If fairies do exist they would definitely be hanging out in Scotland. And if Scotland had better weather it would be overrun with tourists because my gosh it is one of the most beautiful countries in the world.
- Edinburgh Castle – perched on the top of Edinburgh, this is a magnificent castle that can be seen from many points in Edinburgh’s old town. Don’t miss a visit and the views over Edinburgh and when Mons Meg fires at 1pm.
- Glen Coe – this famous Scottish valley has volcanic origins and is located in the Highlands of Scotland. Pick up a car in Glasgow and head north to the A82 road which winds through Glen Coe and get ready for your jaw to drop.
- Mull of Galloway – the most southerly point of Scotland’s mainland this beautiful strip of land is on Scotland’s undiscovered and very beautiful south west coast. Don’t miss the lighthouse and the views.
- The Isle of Skye – my favourite place in Scotland. A magical island with the glorious Cuillin Hills, the Old Man of Storr, Quiraing, Kilt Rock, a Fairy Glen, and beautiful Eileen Donan Castle to see on the way on and off the island.
- Scotland’s North Coast – drive from Durness in the East to Thurso in the West and see beautiful views, stunning beaches and when the sun comes out glorious skies. Head to Dunnet Head to be at the most northerly point of mainland Britain.
⇒ 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, 11 Places to Experience the Sunset Edinburgh style, 18 Beautiful Places in Scotland and 9 great Spa Breaks Scotland.
- Paris – possibly the most beautiful big city in the world, Paris is filled with beautiful buildings, charming details, historic landmarks, the Seine, gorgeous gardens and so much more – most beautiful at sunrise.
- Mont Saint Michel – this unique tidal island in Normandy is one of the best-loved landmarks in France. The island is connected by a causeway to the rest of France when the tides are right. It is home to a medieval village and gothic Benedictine Abbey.
- Provence – lavender fields, vineyards, hilltop villages, this region in southeastern France lives up to its famous reputation for natural beauty. Don’t miss Gordes, Baux-de-Provence, St Remy and of course Avignon.
- Loire Valley – outstanding natural beauty, vineyards and so many historically significant sites that it has been named a world heritage site. Don’t miss the fairytale chateaux and castles.
- Colmar – half-timbered houses made from a rainbow of colours lining both sides of a river Colmar is picture-postcard perfect.
⇒ If you like beautiful European towns check out my posts on Saint Antonin Noble Val and Tarn et Garonne in France, 30 Famous Landmarks in France, 10 Beautiful Bridges in France, 10 Beautiful Lakes in France and the 6 Best Places to Watch the Sunrise in Paris
Chocolates, watches, everything on time, cuckoo-clocks bank accounts, mountains, lakes and so much more in beautiful Switzerland. This country is a magical blend of Italy, France and Germany yet still has its own unique identity.
- Chateau de Chillon – the quintessential postcard-perfect European castle perfectly poised on Lake Geneva.
- Lucerne – the typical Swiss town sitting at the bottom of Mount Pilatus. The old town has traditional squares and buildings with small cobblestone streets. And then they have that nice lake. Lake Lucerne is made even more beautiful by the fact that it is surrounded by majestic mountains.
- Zermatt – the famous skiing village located next to the Matterhorn. This car-free village is incredibly pretty particularly when seen next to the towering Matterhorn.
- Interlaken – a traditional resort town between not one but two Alpine Lakes, Interlaken has snowcapped mountains, waterfalls, lush green valleys and is great for summer hiking and winter skiing.
- Zurich – a major city on a lake plus snow-topped mountains in the background, Zurich is ridiculously stunning. A quaint old town filled with historic buildings, fresco paintings and flowerpots.
This Scandanavian country is known for fjords, salmon, lots of skiing and phenomenal natural beauty.
- The Fjords – a fjord is a lake backed by a mountain. In Norway, the combination of these two is so incredibly beautiful that they have their own UNESCO World Heritage listing. Sognefjord is the longest and the deepest fjord and don’t miss Nordfjord and Geirangerfjord.
- Trolltunga – you might know these cliffs from Instagram. Known as the troll’s tongue it will take a four-hour hike to get there but wow what a view!
- Bergen – a city on a harbour with super cute colourful buildings and some fantastic views from its funicular railway.
- Lofoten Islands – an archipelago of islands in the north of Norway where the colourful buildings dot insanely beautiful landscapes and whales swim the waters.
- Flam – the Flam railway is one of Norway’s top tourist attractions and is known as one of the most scenic train journeys in the world. Flam itself is an incredibly cute colourful village set on a fjord, of course.
Lovely little Slovenia isn’t necessarily the first country to come to mind when you think of Europe but it is definitely one of the continent’s hidden gems. Only 2 million people live in Slovenia and it is possible to drive the entire country within 3 or 4 hours but it doesn’t stop it from being crammed with beautiful places.
- Ljubljana – Slovenia’s capital is also a beautiful city with a picturesque old town, canals, and a castle on top of a hill.
- Bled – located in the Julian Alps, lovely Bled was the highlight of my visit to Slovenia. Lake Bled has a small island in its middle with a very photogenic castle. And if that wasn’t enough there is then another very attractive castle on the top of a hill overlooking Lake Bled.
- Bohinj – bigger than Lake Bled but not so famous, Bohinj is in Triglav National Park and is the perfect place to hike in the Julian Alps.
- Vintgar Gorge – a 1.6km gorge along the Radovna River. A mix of gravel paths and boardwalks provide amazing views and there are even a few waterfalls.
- Mangart Saddle – an extremely scenic drive, Route 902 is a narrow road with cliffs alongside. Lots of hairpin turns and moments when you’ll hold your breath if another car tries to pass. The drive takes about 40 minutes.
Gorgeous Austria doesn’t get the profile that it deserves in my opinion. It has all the beauty that you would expect from the home of the Sound of Music as well as super cool and pretty cities and some fantastic food.
- Vienna – one of the world’s most beautiful capital cities. A beautiful old town with gothic churches and world-famous palaces plus a beautiful park with a world-famous Ferris wheel and the Danube River.
- Hallstatt – a gorgeous little town and a beautiful lake. Stroll the lakefront, head to Five Fingers viewpoint and don’t miss the ice caves and salt mine.
- Graz – Austria’s second-largest town also doesn’t get the attention that it deserves. A beautiful city set on a river with a wonderful old town filled with picturesque back streets.
- Salzburg – possibly the prettiest place in Austria, Mozart’s birthplace Graz is filled with beautiful historic buildings overlooked by a historic castle.
- Innsbruck – another gorgeous old town with colourful houses on a river, all under the watchful eye of the majestic Nordkette, Innsbruck is quintessential Austria.
⇒ 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.
This little Balkan country isn’t that well known but it has a stunning coastline plus some amazing countryside.
- Kotor – a seaside spot set at the base of Mount Lovcen, this walled city is full of narrow streets and hidden corners. Take a big walk up the 1350 steps to get to the top of the fortifications and gain a jaw-dropping view.
- Ostrog Monastery – this historic building sits in a mountain and appears to be almost carved into its surroundings.
- Lake Skadar – this Balkan lake is on Montenegro’s border with Albania.
- Black Lake – part of the stunning Durmitor National Park, this lake is surrounded by fir trees and majestic mountains.
- Sveti Stefan – Montenegro’s Mont St Michel, this little island village sits in the ocean and is connected to Montenegro by a causeway. It is an expensive resort these days so you’ll have to pay to explore it but you can enjoy the view for free from the shore.
Germany is a wonderful mix of some of the most edgy and innovative cities in the world like Berlin and Potsdammer Platz and chocolate box villages in the greenest of forests.
- The Romantic Road in Bavaria – a 350km route through the forests and mountains of Bavaria and Baden-Wurttemberg. Rothenburg is one of the loveliest stops along the way with 14th-century buildings in its market square and a Town Hall Tower.
- The Black Forest – this is the Germany of fairy tales filled with cuckoo clocks and the famous cake this area includes the oh so beautiful spa town of Baden-Baden, lovely Freiburg, and try the local wines in Offenburg. Don’t miss the high road Schwarzwaldhochstrabe.
- Neuschwanstein Castle – the inspiration for Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Castle, is the number one tourist attraction in Germany.
- The Rhine Valley – the Rhine river runs through slate mountains filled with storybook castles, vineyards, hillsides and a few Gothic churches. The route is dotted with half-timber villages and this is the perfect place to take a cruise.
- The Moselle Valley – another wine area known for its Rieslings, is also filled with more beautiful castles, quaint villages, mountains and traditional taverns.
Would you get naked at a spa? Check out my posts on Naked or Clothed – Baden Baden Spa Guide, the best Baden Baden Tour options, 26 Landmarks of Germany, 9 Most Beautiful Cities in Germany and One Day in Hamburg – all in Germany.
Home of beautiful people and stunning vistas plus fjords, northern lights, colourful buildings and so much more.
- Gamla Stan – Stockholm’s old town is a UNESCO world heritage site and one of the best-preserved city centres in Europe. Colourful buildings and pedestrianised streets.
- The High Coast – another UNESCO world heritage site, this area is known for the High Coast Trail, a 25-mile long journey with river-valley views.
- Lake Vanern – Sweden has more than 100,00 lakes but this one is the largest – as well as being the largest lake in the European Union. Don’t miss Lacko Castle.
- Smogen – an old fishing village on Sweden’s west coast and home to Smogenbryggan or the deck of Smogen, a group of fishermen’s huts that sit on the water.
- Icehotel – one of the biggest tourism draws is the Icehotel in Northern Sweden, which was a world first. Each year this hotel is re-built from scratch and attracts artists from around the world. You can sleep in the Icehotel which I have done but you will be grateful for the access to a standard hotel for amenities. Great place to see the Northern Lights in the winter.
This lovely island country is home to just over 300,000 people and is the world’s tenth smallest country in area. It is full of natural beauty, some very amazing views, crystal clear waters, cobblestone streets and some gorgeous historic buildings.
- Grand Harbour – the most jaw-dropping spot on Malta has to be its amazing Grand Harbour. The limestone, almost pale pink fortifications of Valletta against its oh so blue water plus all the stunning yachts is a view you won’t forget.
- Valletta – the old town of Valletta is absolutely beautiful. There are many long, steep, skinny streets that are very atmospheric plus pretty piazzas filled with historic buildings.
- Gozo – Malta’s second island and a paradise for divers. Beautiful blue waters against sun stroked rocks. Alas, one of its most famous sites, the Azure Window arch, collapsed a few years ago and can now only be seen underwater by divers.
- Mdina – a quiet hill topped towns that is off-limits to cars and full of golden streets and colourful shutters. There are also some fantastic views over Malta.
- Blue Lagoon – amazing crystal clear waters, the Blue Lagoon is located between Comino and Cominotto islands and is easily reached by boat from Gozo or Malta. Try to arrive late in the day as it will be jam-packed with tourists otherwise.
England is home to a truly diverse landscape from the beautiful beaches of Cornwall in the south to the rolling green hill cuteness of the Cotswolds up to the jaw dropping beauty of the Lakes District in the north.
- Isles of Scilly – off the beaten path – an archipelago of islands off the coast of England that have their own warm sub climate that produces a dizzying array of beautiful flowers against perfect beaches and green valleys. Cars only allowed on one of the islands.
- Bath – England’s most famous spa town and home of Jane Austen. Extremely pretty, stunning architecture and don’t miss their renovated baths.
- Cornwall – where English people go on their holidays. The south west of England is a dazzling mix of bright greens and blues with fantastic coastal walks, beautiful beaches and stunning scenery.
- Cotswolds – the quintessential England of chocolate box houses and greener than green hills and valleys. Ridiculously cute villages are the norm and don’t miss walking at least part of the Cotswolds Way.
- Lakes District – so beautiful that it is UNESCO protected. A mix of beautiful lakes, green mountain ranges and historic and very cute villages.
One of the most charming of the Baltic countries, Latvia is a fantastic mix of wild nature and beautiful historic cities.
- Riga – Latvia’s capital and one of the world’s most charming cities in my opinion. Filled with art nouveau buildings and an insanely cute old town plus Europe’s largest market
- Jurmala – only a 30 minute drive from Riga, 2 miles of stunning white sand beaches and cute beach towns.
- Kemeri Bog – I never expected that a bog could be beautiful until I visited Latvia. A wooden boardwalk takes visitors safely through these beautiful marshes.
- Sigulda – Latvia’s Switzerland, this beautiful city has remote forest trails, mysterious caves, historic castles and wonderful river views.
- Liepaja – set on the Baltic Sea, a mixture of a port and a resort town with beautiful white sand beaches.
- Sintra and Pena Sintra – Beautiful Sintra is a hilltop town only 45 minutes from Lisbon. The Pena Palace of Sintra is a stunning extremely colourful romanticist castle. The castle sits at the top of the town and looks down over Sintra.
- Douro Valley – perhaps Portugal’s most well known wine region, the vineyards and wineries here are dotted along the Douro River and up and down the valley walls making for some scenic wine tasting.
- Porto – Portugal’s second city and the home of Port, on the Douro river with more of those atmospheric back streets and of course patterned tiles.
- Aveiro – Portugal’s version of Venice this maritime city is set on a lagoon and full of colourful houses and boats.
- Lisbon – Portugal’s atmospheric capital, a wonderful mix of the old and new built on a series of hills. Gothic cathedrals, narrow streets filled with bars and restaurants and vintage trams.
The Emerald Isle is filled with some of the lushest greenest fields you may ever see, super cute villages and some of the best sights the natural world has on offer.
- Ring of Kerry – one of the most famous routes to take in Ireland because of its stunning scenery that covers both coastline and mountains.
- Cork – colourful buildings sit on a cute harbour and it is easy to go and kiss the Blarney Stone
- The Dark Hedges – made famous by Game of Thrones, a road with striking beech trees
- Galway – medieval town on Ireland’s west coast with an atmospheric old city and beautiful latin quarter plus medieval city walls.
- Giant’s Causeway – Northern Ireland’s first UNESCO heritage site – 40,000 natural basalt columns formed by an ancient volcanic eruption.
21. 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.
- Views – of San Marino and the views from this hilltop town are stunning
- Sculptures of San Marino – beautiful sculptures are dotted throughout the pedestrianised town.
- San Marino Funicular – the easiest and most scenic way to get to San Marino’s town square
- Towers of San Marino – three towers from the 11th century sit at the top of San Marino. The walks to and from these towers provide fantastic views.
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