Like most other people my first trip to Europe was fast – with an itinerary aiming to visit numerous cities in only a few weeks and tick off as many key sites as possible.
If you’re planning your first trip here’s the 8 must visit European cities which I believe you should include to get a real feel for the continent.
I spent 4 nights in London the first time I visited and found the size and number of things to do there overwhelming. You won’t be able to do everything, but with a few days you’ll be able to experience the highlights such as The Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, St Pauls Cathedral, Oxford Street, Westminster and a couple of galleries. The added bonus is that London Heathrow is basically a gateway to the world.
It’s easy to get to Paris from London thanks to the Eurostar or buses which take the ferry to Calais from Dover. Check out the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, see the Mona Lisa at Musee du Louvre, and the Moulin Rouge (whether you see a show there or not).
My favourite Italian city – visit Vatican City, attend a Papal Audience in St Peters Square, toss a coin in the Trevi Fountain, enter the Colosseum and check out the Pantheon. It’s also important to consume pizza, gelato and a coffee standing up.
Back when Europe was a place I had only imagined the floating city of Venice and it’s Gondolas were what I pictured (probably thanks to masses of advertising). The fact Venice is made up of 117 islands crossed with bridges is inconceivable as it’s so hard to pick them out. Seeing traditional Glass Blowing and Lace Making as well as visiting the markets and Piazza San Marco are excellent starting points.
I’m sure many tourists only pass through Athens as means of getting to the Greek Islands but the ruins of the Acropolis and the Panathenaic Stadium are historic sites everyone should make an effort to see in their lifetime.
I loved Barcelona and wish I’d allowed myself more time there. It’s a large city to explore so purchase a Hop On Hop Off Bus pass and get off at sites such as the Olympic Stadium, Sagrada Familia, Las Ramblas, the Gothic Quarter, and stadium of Barcelona FC.
As much as I loved Munich with it’s gardens and beer halls, if you can only visit one city in Germany it really should be Berlin. One day I will walk the Berlin Wall, visit the Holocaust Memorial, Brandenburg Gate and explore the Grunewald forest.
Amsterdam has two sides for visitors – the idyllic canals and floating flower market and then the Red Light District and the coffee shops. Best seen on a bike, save time for visiting Anne Frank’s house and the Heineken Experience.
So… do you agree? Or which cities would you swap out? Pin the image below so you can find this post later!