For most of us, Europe has existed as a far-away land which has constantly intrigued and excited us. It has amazed us as a continent which has witnessed numerous wars, yet gifted to the world the most beautiful pieces of art, literature and architecture. Every decade and every century has brought forth unpredictable developments in Europe, and yet, it has gifted the world with something of immense value all throughout its history.
There is also the natural beauty of Europe which has profoundly influenced everybody who has seen it at close range. The forests and vineyards, they cast a magical spell one the onlooker and heal the troubled mind. If Paris leads the way for the latest fashion trend, the islands of Greece conjure images of a past shrouded in the mists of time. Germany and Switzerland, Portugal and Spain, every European country offers a unique experience. There are some European countries which are more sought after than others, for the special experience they provide. This blog tells you the most visited European countries in the world that are special in one way or the other.
With the best dressed people in the planet, scrumptious food and an abundance of love, it’s hardly surprising that France is the most visited European country. While Paris is famous for the Eiffel Tower, Louvre and Arc de Triomphe, in Lyon you find the most Michelin-starred restaurants. The beauty of the waters of the French Riviera, the picturesque villages and Alps to the southeast exceed all your expectations in terms of their beauty and grandeur. Oh, and being in France, wine and champagne are readily available!
Germany is all about culture and finesse. It’s famous for its classical music and attracts classical music lovers from all over the world. It also hosts the Bachfest Leipzig and Wagner Festival, both music festivals. While Berlin constantly sets higher standards in modern art, Munich delights visitors with its historic architecture, grand plazas and wonderful churches. The castles in Germany like Neuschwanstein and Hohenzollern seem to have sprung up from a perfect fairytale. Of course, anyone who comes to Berlin in Germany should visit the Berlin Wall, which stands as a reminder of her tumultuous past.
Italy is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful countries in Europe. The loveliest mountains on earth, Dolomite Alps, are found here, as is the Amalfi Coast, the most incredible coastal drive in the world. We all know how exciting Rome can be, with its magnificent colosseum, catacombs, Roman Forum and other such magnificent historical structures. Sicily is the coastal paradise, while Como attracts tourists with its amazing lake. Indeed, the whole of Italy is a fabulous painting on a giant canvas.
Netherlands, popularly known as Holland, is one of the most visited European nations. There is Amsterdam, the capital, with its dreamy canals, museums and splendid art galleries. While Keukenhof boasts the largest garden in the world, Kinderdijk, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is famous for its windmills. The spectacular Rijksmuseum, also known as the Dutch National Museum, is home to about seven million works of art. In Zeeland, an awe-inspiring project known as the Delta Works stand as a feat of engineering marvel, and have rightly been included in the “seven wonders of the modern world”.
The spectacular landscape and historic structures of Greece have been beautifully captured in numerous movies and arts. Upon visiting them, you are transported to the past ages. Santorini, a volcanic island, is famous for its white-washed houses, active volcano and stunning sunsets. One of the most distinguishing landmarks of Greece is Parthenon which sits atop the Acropolis. Among the numerous Greek islands, Mykonos is as picturesque as it gets with its intricate lanes and whitewashed steps lanes. If you are looking for a spectacle from the past, head to the Delphi Theatre.
If a painter were to create masterful strokes with his brush, the painting would look exactly like Switzerland. Surrounded by the snowcapped peaks of the Alps, the perfect blue lakes, lush valleys and picturesque hamlets give this landlocked nation a fairytale-like beauty. Zurich, with its cobblestoned streets, cafes, museums and galleries, will win your heart at first sight. Bern exudes an old-world charm with its medieval town. Other attractions in Switzerland are Lake Geneva, Lucerne, Interlaken, the Rhine Falls and St. Moritz, besides others.
What makes Spain one of the most popular European countries are its lovely beaches, historical sites and amazing festivals. Tourism is also one of the major industries in Spain, and accounts for almost 11% of its annual GDP. The most popular cities are Madrid, Barcelona and Seville (all of them home to several UNESCO World Heritage Sites). There is the Gugenheim Museum, which draws millions of visitors every year and is a landmark in the history of museum architecture. Spain is also home to the most beautiful islands in Europe that make for a dreamy vacation.
While England may not much seem much in terms of a tourist destination, there is more than enough to excite a visitor. Albeit small in size, it boasts a fascinating history, beautiful cities and rich cultural traditions. It abounds in historic sites, from prehistoric megaliths, ancient Roman sites to centuries-old castles. The Lake District National Park, with its 12 lakes and incredible beauty, attracts tourists in large numbers. While the British Museum houses the world’s largest collection of antiquities, the Tower of London (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) contains the most amazing exhibits you will ever come across.
Portugal is amongst those diverse countries which offer a remarkably diverse experience. The country boasts over 800km of Atlantic Ocean coastline. Its capital city, Lisbon, has a lot to keep the tourists busy. Some of the attractions in it are Oceanario de Lisboa, Mosteiro dos Jeronimos and Palacio Nacional de Sintra, which has been described as a UNESCO World Heritage cultural landscape. Nothing is more exciting than kayaking on the Lisbon Coast or visiting Bom Jesus do Monte, a magnificent religious sanctuary. The cross-border zipline at Alcoutim is a big hit with the tourists, while exploring Alentejo on horseback is a great delight. Portugal has something for everybody.
Located at the heart of Europe, Czech Republic is wrapped in elegance. Its capital, Prague is famous for its baroque buildings, Old Town Square, Gothic churches and Astronomical Clock. Most of Czech Republic, though, is dotted with castles like the Hluboka Castle and Cesky Sternberk Castle. There are enormous mountain areas to explore, dreamy villages to visit and a fascinating culture to fall in love with. If you are a beer lover, then this is where you need to be.
Austria prides itself on being the winter sports capital of Europe, along with a glorious history, tradition and culture. Its historic villages and cities make for some amazing sightseeing and exploration. One of the major attractions of Austria is the Schönbrunn Palace, which is as exquisite as it is enormous. A visit to Hallstatt, a baroque village, lets you see a prehistoric man preserved in salt. In Austria, you come across the Salzburg Castle, one of the largest and best preserved castles in Medieval Europe. An all-time favorite holiday destination is Zell am See, famous for its alpine lake as well as outdoor recreation activities like fishing, cycling and skiing.
Being a Nordic country, the beauty of Sweden stands on a league of its own. With its glaciated mountains, coastal islands and inland lakes, its perfect for an outdoor vacation. One of its greatest attractions is Sigtuna, Sweden’s first ever town founded in 980 AD. The greatest engineering feat of Sweden can be seen at the Gota Canal, dating back to the 19th century and being 190km in length. The Vasa Museum in Stockholm is a must visit, and houses the Swedish Imperial Fleet, the Vasa battleship. Spend a night at Ice Hotel or visit the Jokkmokk Winter Market.
Denmark is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful counties in Europe, and it’s easy to see why. It has glorious beaches, fairytale like castles, wonderful beaches, dense forests, a cool climate and beautiful people. Its capital, Copenhagen, has spectacular attractions like Tivoli Gardens, Christianborg Palace, Nyhavn, Amalienborg Palace and The Round Tower, among others. Around 10km from Copenhagen stands the Oresund Bridge, which has become a Scandinavian icon. Apart from these, you could go off the beaten path and explore it’s fascinating landscape consisting of fjords, rocky coasts, meadows and mist-covered hills.
There is history and culture to be found in every corner of Hungary. Cities exude an air of classicism while the Hungarian countryside is as beautiful as you will ever come across. Budapest, its capital is home to several attractions like the Buda Castle (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), Parliament Buildings and the Danube Promenade. On the western outskirts to Budapest lie the Buda Hills, which offer panoramic views of the city. Another UNESCO World Heritage Site is the Aggtelek National Park and Caves, the largest and most impressive stalactite caves in all of Europe.
What makes Croatia one of the best countries in Europe? Its thousands of years of history and amalgamation of cultures, diverse landscapes and an incredible coastline. You can choose to spend your holiday in any of the 1,185 islands including a splendid mainland. Some of the prominent tourist attractions are Korcula Island, the birthplace of Marco Polo, the beautiful Plitvice Lakes National Park in Lika and the National Park Brijuni Islands. Split, the second largest city in Europe, also attracts tourists in large numbers.