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U.S. News Best Vacations Badge

Best Places to Visit in Europe

U.S. News Best Vacations Badge

To help you plan your next trip to Europe, U.S. News rounded up a list of vibrant cities known for their museums, shops, restaurants, nightlife, recreation and architecture. After careful consideration of these factors – and opinions among travelers and experts – we found 20 must-see destinations in Europe. Use this list to guide your travel choices, and cast your vote to help us compile next year's list.

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Gold Badge #1 Rome

Gold Badge #1 in Best Places to Visit in Europe

Why go: Roma is a can't-miss spot on your European tour. The aroma of fresh Italian cooking wafts through alleys and historic sites sit at every turn. The Colosseum, St. Peter's Basilica and the awe-inspiring Trevi Fountain are essential attractions for any traveler. Read More »

Rome
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Gold Badge #2 Paris

Gold Badge #2 in Best Places to Visit in Europe

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

Paris at Night
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Gold Badge #3 London

Gold Badge #3 in Best Places to Visit in Europe

Why go: Exploring the world-class British Museum, seeing a musical in the West End, touring the Tower of London and gorging on fish and chips at a local pub are all part of the London experience. However, London's high hotel prices can make budget travelers cringe. Read More »

London in the Sun
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Gold Badge #4 Venice

Gold Badge #4 in Best Places to Visit in Europe

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 notable eateries, all types of travelers will enjoy Venice's charms. Read More »

The Grand Canal
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Gold Badge #5 Florence

Gold Badge #5 in Best Places to Visit in Europe

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 »

Il Duomo
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Gold Badge #6 Barcelona

Gold Badge #6 in Best Places to Visit in Europe

Why go: Barcelona's diverse collection of architecture really makes the city stand out. Gaudi's Parc Güell and La Sagrada Família are impressive, as are La Seu and Montjuïc Castle. When you tire of architecture, relax on the beach or sip sangria along Las Ramblas. Read More »

View of Barcelona
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#7 Amsterdam

#7 in Best Places to Visit in Europe

Why go: There's more to this city than its notorious coffee shop culture and the Red Light District. Bike rides along the city's canals are popular with locals and visitors alike, and stylish streets and noteworthy museums (think the Van Gogh museum) keep travelers coming back. Read More »

Herengracht Canal
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#8 Prague

#8 in Best Places to Visit in Europe

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

skyline
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#9 Vienna

#9 in Best Places to Visit in Europe

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 Innere Stradt. If you're an art lover, head to the MuseumsQuartier to tour the Museum of Modern Art. Read More »

Vienna Skyline
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#10 Tuscany

#10 in Best Places to Visit in Europe

Why go: This renowned culinary 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 »

Under the Tuscan Sun
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#11 Athens

#11 in Best Places to Visit in Europe

Why go: Athens was made for history buffs and architecture aficionados, but it also serves as a great European getaway. The capital's laid back lifestyle and incredible food attract the masses just as much as the world-class Acropolis and Parthenon do.  Read More »

Parthenon in Spring
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#12 Dublin

#12 in Best Places to Visit in Europe

Why go: Dublin is popular among beer enthusiasts for being home to the Guinness Storehouse and subsequent unparalleled pub culture. But the beautiful parks, towering cathedrals and castles in this friendly, walkable Irish city are not to be missed. Read More »

Dublin from the River Liffey
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#13 Madrid

#13 in Best Places to Visit in Europe

Why go: Madrid is easy to navigate and cost-effective. Take advantage of all the opportunities to experience the local culture: Savor an afternoon in Retiro Park, sample tapas at the Mercado San Miguel, cheer on Real Madrid at Bernabéu Stadium and party in Sol. Read More »

Center of Madrid
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#14 Berlin

#14 in Best Places to Visit in Europe

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

Berlin Skyline
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#15 Stockholm

#15 in Best Places to Visit in Europe

Why go: Sprawling, striking, soaked in history…Stockholm wins over visitors with its blend of ancient architecture and urban amenities. You can't miss exploring the city's cutting-edge museums, meandering along the cobbled streets of Gamla Stan or indulging in Nordic cuisine. Read More »

Stockholm
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#16 Budapest

#16 in Best Places to Visit in Europe

Why go: Budapest can be seen as the backpacker's Vienna; it's fun, young and budget-friendly. Although it's often left out of Americans' trip itineraries, Budapest's architectural beauty, cheap eats and unique culture merits consideration. Read More »

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#17 Lisbon

#17 in Best Places to Visit in Europe

Why go: One of Lisbon's biggest draws is its affordability: You'll pay far less (relative to other popular European capitals) on accommodations, meals and attractions. Travelers enjoy exploring the city's charming neighborhoods, historical sites and chowing down on pastel de nata. Read More »

Lisbon
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#18 Istanbul

#18 in Best Places to Visit in Europe

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 »

Grand Bazaar
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#19 Edinburgh

#19 in Best Places to Visit in Europe

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 authentic local experiences at affordable prices. Read More »

View from Calton Hill
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#20 Copenhagen

#20 in Best Places to Visit in Europe

Why go: Copenhagen oozes with Nordic charm and hygge, or "coziness," making the city more laid-back than other capitals. But that doesn't mean it's out of touch. The city has an edge, offering trendy restaurants and shops alongside classic sites such as Strøget. Read More »

The Little Mermaid
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Normandy

American Military Cemetery Memorial

Normandy

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Crete

Sitia Promenade

Crete

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St. Petersburg

Grand Cascade

St. Petersburg

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Monaco

Yachts Docked in Monte-Carlo

Monaco

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