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Best Places to Visit in Europe

To help you plan your next trip to Europe, U.S. News rounded up a list cities known for their museums, shops, restaurants, nightlife, recreation and aesthetics. After careful consideration of these factors — with input from both experts and travelers — our editors ranked Europe's best vacation destinations. Use this list to guide your travel choices, and cast your vote to help us determine next year's ranking list. 

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Why go: Roma is a must-see city on your European tour. The aroma of fresh Italian cooking wafts through alleys; locals are adorned in couture; and historic sites sit at every turn. The Colosseum and St. Peter's Basilica are essential stops for any world traveler. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Rome

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Why go: Paris is filled with museums (like the Louvre and the Musée d'Orsay), monuments (like the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe) and churches (like the Sacré-Coeur and Notre Dame). Still, save some time for drawn-out meals and relaxing at sidewalk cafes. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Paris

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Why go: Barcelona appeals abound. The designs of Gaudi's Parc Güell and La Sagrada Família are impressive, and La Seu and Montjuïc Castle showcase the city's traditional side. When you tire of architecture, lounge on the beach or sip sangria along Las Ramblas. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Barcelona

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Why go: In addition to its abundance of urban charms — buzzing nightlife, fine dining, original fashion and innovative museums — Berlin offers visitors a history lesson (albeit a somber one) with Holocaust memorials and remnants of the Cold War. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Berlin

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Why go: Budapest can be seen as the backpackers' Vienna; it's fun, young and budget-friendly. Although it's not at the top of many Americans' European to-do list, Budapest's architectural beauty, cheap eats and unique culture merits more consideration. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Budapest

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Why go: One of Lisbon's biggest draws is its affordability: You'll pay far less (relative to other Western European capitals) on accommodations, meals and attractions. Travelers enjoy spotting gothic cathedrals, lounging on the beaches and exploring interesting museums. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Lisbon

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Why Go: Compared to Rome, Firenze gives visitors a taste of a more authentic Italy. Florence boasts renowned museums, stunning architecture and mouth-watering cuisine. You can't miss admiring Michelangelo's David and climbing to the top of the Duomo. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Florence

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Why go: Exploring the world-class British Museum, seeing a musical in Leicester Square, touring the Tower of London and gorging on fish 'n' chips at a local pub are all part of a London vacation. However, London's high hotel prices can make bargain-hunters cringe. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in London

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Why go: There's more to this city than the notorious coffeeshop culture. Bicycle rides along the canals are always enjoyable, and french fries are a staple of the local diet. Amsterdam also boasts several notable attractions, such as the Anne Frank House and the Van Gogh Museum. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Amsterdam

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Why go: Visiting Prague is like stepping onto the set of a fairy tale. The gothic architecture impresses visitors of all ages. And city's love of music is contagious. You'll also appreciate Prague's affordability compared to other European hot spots. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Prague

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Why go: Madrid is easy to navigate and overall budget-friendly. Take advantage of all the opportunities to experience the local culture: Savor an afternoon in Retiro Park, shop for souvenirs in the Mercado San Miguel, roam museums like the Prado and sample delicious tapas. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Madrid

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Why go: Half of Istanbul rests in Europe, the other half in Asia. Notable sites like the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque bear evidence of the two converging worlds. For a taste of Istanbul's lively culture, spend a few hours hunting for bargains in the Grand Bazaar. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Istanbul

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Why go: This storied city is best known for its music and monarchs. While in Vienna, explore the Habsburg's Schonbrunn Palace and stroll the narrow streets of the Inner Stradt. If you're an art-lover, head to the MuseumsQuartier to tour the Museum of Modern Art. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Vienna

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Why go: Italy's renowned foodie (and wino) region is full of quaint eateries serving up traditional Italian fare. You can savor Tuscany's rich flavors at charming restaurants in Florence, Siena and Cinque Terre, or head straight to the source on a winery or olive grove tour. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Tuscany

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Why go: Venice may conjure images of romantic gondola rides down the Grand Canal, but this "City of Water" isn't only for swooning lovebirds. With an abundance of theaters, churches, historic sites and unforgettable Italian eateries, all types of travelers will enjoy Venice's charms. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Venice

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Why go: Though Peter the Great built this city on a swamp, St. Petersburg soon became Russia's most beautiful city. There are Tsarist palaces to explore and museums (like the Hermitage) to tour. But if you're maintaining a budget, consider another Eastern European city, like Riga. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in St. Petersburg

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Why go: Surrounded by a rugged Scottish landscape, Edinburgh possesses a wealth of attractions. Visitors can stroll the Royal Mile, climb the nearby hills and tour ancient castles. Meanwhile, the city's bed and breakfasts offer travelers authentic local experiences at affordable prices. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Edinburgh

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Why go: Copenhagen lures travelers in with its canals, castles, gardens, museums and flea markets... But unfortunately for budget-minded travelers, this northern European city is anything but affordable. Trim down your expenses by visiting in late winter or early spring. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Copenhagen

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Why go: Home to the Guinness Storehouse and incomparable pub culture, Dublin is popular among beer enthusiasts. But the beautiful parks — like St. Stephen's Green and Phoenix Park — and towering cathedrals and castles in this walkable Irish city are not to be missed. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Dublin

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Why go: Despite the hassle of getting there (you'll have to take a connecting flight or ferry from Athens), Crete is relatively cost-efficient. Greece's largest island has something for just about every type of traveler — adventurers, beach bums and gourmands included. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Crete

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