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U.S. News Best Vacations Badge

Best Places to Visit in Europe

U.S. News Best Vacations Badge

From the England and France to Italy and Germany, European countries are full of vibrant cities known for museums, restaurants, nightlife and architecture, so deciding which one to visit on vacation can be difficult. That’s why U.S. News considered these factors – as well as user votes – to round up the 17 best travel destinations in Europe. Use this list to guide your next trip, 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 the can't-miss spot on your trip to Europe. 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 places for any traveler to visit in Italy's capital. Read More »

Rome View 33 photos
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Gold Badge #2 Porto

Gold Badge #2 in Best Places to Visit in Europe

Why go: A coastal Portuguese city that has long been a place for wine lovers, this charming destination offers plenty of fun for travelers. Spend the day wandering the Avenida dos Aliados before visiting one of the city's famous bridges, such as the Dom Luís I Bridge. And you must sit down for a glass (or two) of port wine and local seafood. Read More »

Porto View 20 photos
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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 bucket list experience. However, London's high hotel prices can make budget travelers cringe. Read More »

London in the Sun View 31 photos
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Gold Badge #4 Paris

Gold Badge #4 in Best Places to Visit in Europe

Why go: A visit to 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 Cathedral). Still, travelers should save some time for relaxing at sidewalk cafes during the day and enjoying drawn-out meals with amazing wine at night. Read More »

Paris at Night View 20 photos
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Gold Badge #5 Florence

Gold Badge #5 in Best Places to Visit in Europe

Why Go: Travel to Firenze for an authentic taste of Italy. Florence boasts renowned museums, quaint hotels, stunning architecture and mouthwatering cuisine. You can't miss admiring Michelangelo's David and climbing to the top of the Duomo. Read More »

Il Duomo View 17 photos
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Gold Badge #6 Prague

Gold Badge #6 in Best Places to Visit in Europe

Why go: Step into a fairy tale with a visit to Prague. 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 destinations in Europe. Read More »

skyline View 14 photos
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#7 Venice

#7 in Best Places to Visit in Europe

Why go: Venice may conjure images of romantic gondola rides down the Grand Canal, but this city in Europe isn't only for swooning lovebirds. With an abundance of theaters, churches, historic sites and notable eateries, this destination on Italy's northeastern coast will enchant all types of travelers. Read More »

The Grand Canal View 26 photos
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#8 Barcelona

#8 in Best Places to Visit in Europe

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

View of Barcelona View 18 photos
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#9 Amsterdam

#9 in Best Places to Visit in Europe

Why go: There's more to Amsterdam than its notorious coffee shop culture and the Red Light District. Spend the day biking along the city's canals and stylish streets before exploring noteworthy museums (think the Van Gogh Museum). Friendly locals and affordable hotels keep bringing travelers back, and the city makes for an excellent summer trip. Read More »

Herengracht Canal View 25 photos
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#10 Amalfi Coast

#10 in Best Places to Visit in Europe

Why go: Travel to this coastal region in Italy for once-in-a-lifetime views of the Mediterranean's turquoise water from beautiful cliffside towns. Spend the day wandering the narrow streets of Positano but make sure to visit the more secluded places, such as the Furore Fiordo beach, too. Read More »

Amalfi Coast View 20 photos
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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 for the everyday travel guru. 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 View 18 photos
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#12 Vienna

#12 in Best Places to Visit in Europe

Why go: This storied city is best known for its music and monarchs. Explore the Habsburg's Schönbrunn Palace and stroll the narrow streets of the Innere Stadt. If you're an art lover, head to the MuseumsQuartier to tour the Museum of Modern Art. Read More »

Vienna Skyline View 20 photos
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#13 Santorini

#13 in Best Places to Visit in Europe

Why go: Visit this Greek island for its abundance of diverse beaches. You'll find red sands at – you guessed it – Red Beach and black sands at Kamari Beach. But don't forget to save a day to travel to archaeological attractions such as Ancient Thira and the Ancient Akrotiri. Read More »

Santorini Churches View 18 photos
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#14 Tuscany

#14 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 Siena and Cinque Terre, or head straight to the source on a winery or olive grove tour. Read More »

Under the Tuscan Sun View 19 photos
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#15 Madrid

#15 in Best Places to Visit in Europe

Why go: Spain's capital has all the makings of a quintessential vacation spot in Europe: stunning architecture, vibrant nightlife, world-class museums, luxury hotels and, of course, plenty of delicious Spanish food. But save some time for alfresco dining with locals, too. Read More »

Center of Madrid View 17 photos
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#16 Seville

#16 in Best Places to Visit in Europe

Why go: A trip to Seville may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of traveling to Spain, but it should be on your radar. The city does classic Spanish tradition, including flamenco dancing and bullfighting, better than any other place in the country. Read More »

Shops Along Cobblestone Streets View 20 photos
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#17 Valencia

#17 in Best Places to Visit in Europe

Why go: Those hoping to dodge the crowds of larger destinations in Europe should travel to Valencia, Spain. What it lacks in worldly attractions, it makes up for with places like the Mercado Central. Plus, you'll find hotel rates are much more affordable compared to other European cities. Read More »

Valencian Homes View 17 photos
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Dublin

Dublin from the River Liffey

Dublin

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Berlin

Berlin Skyline

Berlin

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St. Petersburg

Grand Cascade

St. Petersburg

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Budapest

Budapest

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