Salut, ciao, and hello! I’ve just returned from my most recent excursion across Europe and I realized that there’s a lot this continent has to offer. So much so that it might be difficult for tourists, especially those visiting multiple countries, to narrow down their list of what to do and what to skip. Well fear not, for now that I’ve been to Europe twice, I’ve decided that means I’m officially certified to give advice on how to make the most out of your own European trip. You’re welcome.
In order to cut down on space, I’ll only be listing tourist attractions for each city. If you’d like more information about where to eat or what to wear, you can post questions in the comments section down below (and I might even do a follow-up post)!
- Choco-Story Brussels. You learn a lot about what goes into making Belgium chocolate and get a free taste test.
- The Grand Place (Grote Markt), a large square surrounded by gorgeous fourteenth century buildings including the city’s Town Hall.
- The Atomium. Originally constructed to the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair, this giant stainless steel atom now functions as a museum with information about Brussels art and culture.
If you have an extra day, I’d highly recommend taking a day trip to the country side in Flanders–like to the city of Bruges. It’s nice to have a slower paced day when you’re constantly traversing through Europe.
- The Markt is a must-see popular shopping and dining plaza in Bruges
- The Eiffel Tower (duh). Jardins du Trocadéro on the north-ish side and Champ de Mars on the south-ish side are perfect photo-taking spots. I’d recommend making the trek up the tower at least once; the view is breathtaking.
- The Louvre, home to the famous Mona Lisa. Honestly, if you don’t care tremendously about seeing the painting or art in general, don’t feel bad about skipping this attraction.
- Pont des Arts or Pont Neuf, AKA the Lock Bridge. It’s location has changed quite a bit, so you might have to search for it. It’s amazing to see how many people have come to participate in this activity.
- Pont Alexandre III. While we’re talking about bridges, consider strolling across my favorite ornate bridge in Paris–featured in the romantic drama, Me Before You.
- Notre Dame. Because of the recent fire, you still can’t enter the building or walk too close to it. It’s a quintessential part of the city, but until it’s open for the public again, it’s not worth going out of your way to see it.
- Shakespeare and Company. I included this cozy bookstore–which made its theatrical debut in Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris–primarily because of my love of all things literature. It’s also a cute photo spot just across the street from Notre Dame.
- Arc de Triomphe. Another classic part of the city that I think is best seen at night. You can see the entire city, including the Eiffel Tower, lit up from the top.
- Champs-Élysées is not only home to the Arc, but also houses several shops and cafés. You could easily take a few hours and slow down with a walk down this avenue.
- Anne Frank Museum. Buy your tickets online at least a month in advance. Seriously.
- Any canal tour. Maybe skip it you’re third or fourth time in the city, but it’s one of the easiest ways to see the city without even having to get up.
- I Amsterdam. This attraction was actually moved to Amsterdam Centraal where most tourists pass.
- Museumplein. The street and park area are both great places to have a picnic lunch or read a nice book. There’s a fountain of sorts in the area as well; sometimes there are street performers, art exhibits, and in the winter, an ice skating rink.
- The Red Light District. Not a family attraction, but if you’re of age and out with friends, it’s a staple of Amsterdam that’s really like nothing else I’ve ever seen.
- Dam Square, a public gathering place surrounded by shops, restaurants, and the Royal Palace. There’s a good chance you’ll accidentally happen upon the square because of its central location.
Take time out to walk through the city. There are a lot of back streets that make perfect Instagram backgrounds.
- The Vatican, including St. Peter’s Basilica. I know it’s not exactly in Rome, but the grand architecture is well worth seeing, regardless of what religion you are.
- Trevi Fountain. How else are you going to live out your Lizzie McGuire fantasies?
- Colosseum/Roman Forum. Seeing the Colosseum from the outside is enough. But the Roman Forum is like a step through history because you get to witness civilization upon civilization in one of the oldest places in the world.
- Spanish Steps. The steep climb is worth it for the beautiful views on the way up.
- Piazza Navona is another square that just screams Rome.
London, England, United Kingdom
- The London Eye. Like the Eiffel Tower or the Louvre, if you’ve already been once, maybe don’t waste your time going again. However, it is worth seeing.
- The Queen’s Walk was an accidental find for me. But make sure to check it out. There are some great restaurants, stores, and performers in the area.
- Westminster Abbey is one of those sights you want to take in and say you’ve seen.
- Don’t forget to take some pictures with Big Ben.
What do you think of my official European travel guide? Think I can swing giving tours? I’m honestly surprised I managed to say everything in under 1,000 words. If you’ve been to Europe, let me know what some of your favorite things to do are. And if you haven’t, let me know if you’d like to try any of things I mentioned! Don’t forget to follow the blog if you haven’t already and I’ll see you guys next week!