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Planning

Choose Your Destinations

The nice problem with planing a trip to Europe is that there is so much to see and do one may never be able to see them in a lifetime. Most of us only have two weeks to go there so while you would like to see as much as possible, you’re going to be forced to pick and choose the places you’d like to see. You’ll need to eliminate some because will not have the time to see them all.Never make the mistake of trying to see too much as it will only lead to frustration and fatigue.

Some tours rush you into and out of sites so quickly you never get a chance to soak in the moment and create a lasting memory of Europe. Plan on taking more time at locations to see more of the area. You’ll regret not taking the time to see something when you were so near and not knowing if you’ll ever be back again.

Popular Countries in Europe…

Which countries should you visit? There are some countries that are more popular than other for obvious other than they are just larger than some others. Countries like England, France, Germany, Netherlands, Portugal and Spain where countries that established colonies across the globe. Extracting resources from those areas would fuel their economies at home, making them powerful and wealthy. Greece having given birth to western civilization and Italy home of the Roman Empire and birth of the Renaissance, makes them both culturally and historically significant. European countries offer travelers great history, culture, man made wonders and natural beauty. 

The table below show annual number of tourist who arrive in each country and have at least one overnight stay. It would not include day trips into a country from another country or travel through a country without and overnight accommodation.

International Tourists Arrivals in Europe

Overnight visitors (tourists) in the millions 

Country20142015201620172018
🇫🇷France83,70184,54282,68286,75889,322
🇪🇸Spain64,93968,17575,31581,86982,773
🇮🇹Italy48,57650,73252,37258,25361,567
🇹🇷Turkey39,81139,47830,90737,60145,768
🇩🇪Germany32,99934,97035,55537,45238,881
🇬🇧United Kingdom32,61334,43635,81437,65136,316
🇦🇹Austria25,29126,72828,12129,46030,816
🇬🇷Greece22,03323,59924,79927,19430,123
🇷🇺Russia32,42133,72924,57124,39024,551
🇵🇱Poland16,00016,72817,47118,25819,622
🇳🇱Netherlands13,92515,00715,82817,92418,780
🇭🇺Hungary12,14014,31615,25515,78517,552
🇭🇷Croatia11,62312,68313,80915,59316,645
🇵🇹Portugal10,49711,72313,35915,43216,186
🇺🇦 Ukraine12,71212,42813,33314,23014,104
🇨🇿Czechia10,64911,61912,80813,665N/A
🇩🇰Denmark10,26710,42410,78112,42612,749
🇷🇴Romania8,4429,33110,22310,92611,720
🇨🇭Switzerland9,1589,30510,40211,13311,715
🇮🇪Ireland8,8139,52810,10010,33810,926
🇧🇬Bulgaria7,3117,0998,2528,8839,273
🇧🇪Belgium7,8878,3557,4818,3859,119
🇸🇰Slovakia6,0207,0257,620N/AN/A
🇸🇪Sweden5,6606,4826,7827,0547,440
🇳🇴Norway4,8555,3615,9606,2525,688
🇦🇱Albania3,3413,7844,0704,6435,340
🇸🇮Slovenia2,6753,0223,3973,9914,425
🇨🇾Cyprus2,4412,6593,1873,6523,939
🇪🇪Estonia3,1602,9613,1313,2443,234
🇫🇮Finland2,7312,6222,7893,1803,224
🇦🇩Andorra2,3632,6632,8193,0033,042
🇱🇹Lithuania2,0632,0712,2962,5232,825
🇲🇹Malta1,6901,7831,9662,2742,599
🇮🇸Iceland9971,2621,7682,2252,344
🇧🇾Belarus1,0809661,9292,0002,142
🇲🇪Montenegro1,3501,5601,6621,8772,077
🇩🇰Latvia1,8432,0241,7931,9491,946
🇷🇸Serbia1,1791,1021,2021,3811,643
🇧🇦Bosnia Herzegovina5366787789231.053
🇱🇺Luxembourg1,0381,0901,0541,0461,018
🇲🇰North Macedonia425486510631707
🇲🇨Monaco329331336355347
🇲🇩Moldova9494121145160
🇱🇮Liechtenstein6157697985
🇸🇲San Marino7554607884
Holy See-VaticanN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
Data Source UNWTO – World Tourism Organization Compendium of Tourism Statistics Data 2020 Edition 
American Tourists Arrivals in Europe
Country000Country000Country000Country000
🇬🇧UK3,197🇪🇸Spain1,405🇦🇹Austria527🇮🇸Iceland316
🇮🇹Italy2,214🇮🇪Ireland949🇬🇷Greece527🇵🇱Poland316
🇫🇷France2,178🇳🇱Netherlands914🇨🇿Czechia387
🇩🇪Germany1,968🇨🇭Switzerland632🇭🇺Hungary351
Source; US Dept. of Commerce, National Travel and Tourism Office.

The Popular Cities in Europe…

Some cities, like some countries, can have more to see and do than others because of the roll they played in history. Ruins from ancient Greece and Rome are spread across Europe from England to Turkey. Major cities served as the capitols of kingdoms and empires were their royalty and emperors would rule from. Vestiges of medieval life are found in preserved old town areas of cities as well as rural villages scattered across all of Europe. 

In the top 25 of Condé Nast Traveler, fourteen of the top 10 Readers Choice Awards were European cities. Favorites among travelers and gaining honors were Florence, Budapest, Salzburg, Vienna, Rome, Siena, Bruges, Prague, Kraków, and Barcelona. According to the MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index,  for top destination city by international visitor arrivals in 2014, eight of the top 20 cities are in Europe. They are London, Paris, Istanbul, Barcelona, Milan, Rome, Amsterdam, and Vienna.

Condé Naste
  1. Vienna, Austria
  2. Salzburg, Austria
  3. Hamburg, Germany
  4. Lucerne, Switzerland
  5. Basel, Switzerland
  6. Cologne, Germany
  7. Nuremberg, Germany
  8. Florence, Italy
  9. Paris, France
  10. Barcelona, Spain
  11. Antwerp, Belgium
  12. Madrid, Spain
  13. London, England UK
  14. Budapest, Hungary
  15. Tallinn, Estonia
  16. Porto, Portugal
  17. Amsterdam, Netherlands
  18. Venice, Italy
  19. Lyon, France
  20. Edinburgh, Scotland,UK
  21. Avignon, France
  22. Istanbul, Turkey
  23. Stockholm, Sweden
  24. Athens, Greece
  25. Zürich, Switzerland
  26. Rome, Italy
  27. Bilbao, Spain
  28. Sevilla, Spain
  29. Granada, Spain
  30. Cork, Ireland
  31. Valencia, Spain
  32. Copenhagen, Denmark
  33. Lisbon, Portugal
  34. San Sebastián, Spain
  35. Oslo, Norway
Travel & Leisure
  1. Florence, Italy
  2. Rhodes, Greece
  3. Istanbul, Turkey
  4. Paris, France
  5. Santorini, Greece
  6. Barcelona, Spain
  7. Kraków, Poland
  8. Lisbon, Portugal
  9. Sevilla, Spain
  10. Salzburg, Austria
  11. Madrid, Spain
  12. Oslo, Norway
  13. Edinburgh, Scotland,UK
  14. Porto, Portugal
  15. Budapest, Hungary
ETG Favorites
  1. Paris, France
  2. Berlin, Germany
  3. Budapest, Hungary
  4. Florence, Italy
  5. Bruges, Belgium
  6. Prague, Czechia
  7. Munich, Germany
  8. Barcelona, Spain
  9. London, England UK
  10. Vienna, Austria
  11. Rome, Italy
  12. Amsterdam, Netherlands
  13. Kraków, Poland
  14. Copenhagen, Denmark
  15. Venice, Italy
  16. Salzburg, Austria
  17. Lucerne, Switzerland
  18. Siena, Italy
Tripadvisor
  1. London, England UK
  2. Paris, France
  3. Rome, Italy
  4. Cork, Ireland
  5. Barcelona, Spain
  6. Istanbul, Turkey
  7. Prague, Czechia
  8. Lisbon, Portugal
  9. Majorca, Spain
  10. Tenerife, Spain
  11. Santorini, Greece
  12. Crete, Greece
  13. Rhodes, Greece
  14. Amsterdam, Netherlands
  15. Venice, Italy
  16. Ajaccio, Corsica, France
  17. Bilbao, Spain
  18. Madeira, Spain
  19. Isle of Malta, Malta
  20. Berlin, Germany
  21. Edinburgh, Scotland,UK
  22. St. Petersburg, Russia
  23. Vienna, Austria
  24. Manavgat, Turkey
  25. Kraków, Poland

*Condé Nast Traveler readers cast hundreds of thousands of votes for the best cities in Europe in the 2018 Readers’ Choice Awards survey

§  Travel + Leisure magazine’s readers survey of the top 15 cities.  Respondents rate an excellent, above average, average, below average, or poor score to several categories. The final scores are indexed averages to those responses. 


Everyone has a European city that is their favorite. People can love them for their natural beauty, culture, history and more. The list the top choices for these cities by travelers, magazines and web sites.

  • Beauty These cities receive high ratings for their natural beauty but, also their architecture that contributes majestic ambiance of the city.
  • Culture – These cities are noted because of the role they played in shaping the culture of Europe in the arts, sciences, education and traditions. Here you will find some of the best museums.
  • Historic – These cities played pivotal roles in European history.
  • Old – These are some of the best preserved cities or sections of the past. While some may be reconstructed after war damage, many are in their original state and well preserved. 
  • Aachen, Germany (Culture)
  • Alesund, Norway (Beauty)
  • Amsterdam, Netherlands (Beauty, Culture)
  • Annecy, France (Beauty)
  • Antwerp, Belgium (Beauty)
  • Arles, France (Culture)
  • Athens, Greece (Culture, History)
  • Augsburg, Germany
  • Avignon, France (Culture, Historic)
  • Avila, Spain (Old)
  • Baden-Baden, Germany (Beauty)
  • Bamberg, Germany (Old)
  • Barcelona, Spain (Beauty, Cutlure)
  • Basel , Switzerland(Culture)
  • Bath, England UK (Historic)
  • Bergen, Norway (Beauty, Culture, Old)
  • Bern, Switzerland (Beauty)
  • Berlin, Germany (Culture, Historic)
  • Biarritz, France (Beauty)
  • Bilbao, Spain (Culture)
  • Bologna, Italy (Beauty)
  • Bonifacio Corsica, France (Beauty)
  • Bordeaux, France (Culture)
  • Bratislava, Slovakia
  • Brighton, England UK (Beauty)
  • Bristol, England UK
  • Bruges, Belgium (Beauty, Old)
  • Brussels , Belgium (Beauty, Culture)
  • Budapest (Beauty, Culture)
  • Carassonne, France (Old)
  • Chester, England UK (Old)
  • Colmar, France (Old)
  • Cologne, Germany (Culture)
  • Copenhagen, Denmark (Beauty, Culture)
  • Dresden, Germany (Beauty)
  • Dublin, Ireland (Beauty, Culture)
  • Dubrovnik, Croatia (Beauty, Old)
  • Edinburgh, Scotland UK (Beauty, Culture, Old)
  • Eisenach, Germany
  • Erfurt, Germany
  • Èze, France (Old)
  • Ferrara, Italy ( Beauty)
  • Florence, Italy ( Beauty, Culture, Historic, Old)
  • Frankfurt, Germany (Culture)
  • Glasgow, Scotland UK (Culture)
  • Geneva, Switzerland (Beauty)
  • Gdansk, Poland (Culture)
  • Ghent, Belgium (Beauty, Old)
  • Gothenburg, Sweden (Culture)
  • Granada, Spain (Culture, Old)
  • Hallstadt, Austria (Beauty, Old)
  • Hamburg, Germany (Beauty)
  • Heidelberg, Germany (Beauty, Old)
  • Helsinki, Finland (Beauty, Culture)
  • Ibiza, Spain (Beauty, Old)
  • Innsbruck, Austria (Beauty, Culture)
  • Istanbul, Turkey (Beauty, Old)
  • Kotor, Montenegro (Beauty, Culture, Old)
  • Kraków, Poland (Culture, Historic, Old)
  • Lagos, Portugal (Beauty)
  • Lisbon, Portugal (Beauty, Culture, Historic)
  • Ljubljana, Slovenia (Beauty, Culture)
  • London, England UK (Beauty, Culture, Historic)
  • Luxembourg City, Luxembourg (Beauty)
  • Madrid, Spain (Beauty, Culture)
  • Manchester, England UK (Culture)
  • Merida, Spain (Historic)
  • Metz, France (Culture)
  • Milan, Italy (Beauty, Culture)
  • Mont Saint Michel, France (Old)
  • Moscow, Russia (Beauty, Culture, Historic)
  • Munich, Germany (Beauty, Culture, Historic)
  • Mykonos, Greece (Beauty)
  • Novi Sad, Serbia (Culture)
  • Nîmes, Frances (Historic)
  • Nottingham, England UK (Old)
  • Nuremberg, Germany (Beauty, Historic)
  • Ohrid, North Macedonia (Beauty)
  • Oia, Santorini, Greece (Beauty, Culture)
  • Oslo, Norway (Culture)
  • Paris, France (Beauty, Culture, Historic)
  • Pisa, Italy (Culture)
  • Plovdiv, Bulgaria (Culture)
  • Prague (Beauty, Culture, Historic, Old)
  • Porto, Portugal (Beauty)
  • Potsdam, Germany (Beauty, Historic)
  • Regensberg, Germany (Old)
  • Reykjavik, Iceland (Beauty)
  • Riga, Latvia (Beauty, Culture, Old)
  • Rome, Italy (Beauty, Culture, Historic, Old)
  • Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany (Old)
  • Rouen, France (Culture)
  • Rovinj, Croatia (Beauty)
  • San Gimignano, Italy (Old)
  • Citte di San Marino (Beauty, Old)
  • Saint Paul de Vence, France (Old)
  • San Sebastián, Spain (Beauty, Culture)
  • St. Petersburg, Russia (Beauty, Culture, Historic)
  • Salzburg, Austria (Beauty)
  • Sarajevo, Bosnia Herzegovina (Beauty)
  • Seville, Spain (Beauty, Culture)
  • Sibui, Romania (Old)
  • Siena, Italy (Beauty)
  • Sighisoara, Romania (Old)
  • Sintra, Portugal (Culture)
  • Stockholm, Sweden (Beauty, Culture, Historic, Old)
  • Strasbourg, France (Beauty, Culture)
  • Tallinn, Estonia (Beauty, Old)
  • Toledo, Spain (Old)
  • Valletta, Malta (Beauty)
  • Valencia, Spain (Culture)
  • Venice, Italy (Beauty, Culture, Historic)
  • Verona, Italy (Beauty)
  • Vienna, Austria (Beauty, Culture)
  • Vilnius, Lithuania (Beauty)
  • Vitre, France (Old)
  • Warsaw, Poland (Beauty, Culture, Historic)
  • York, England UK (Old)
  • Zagreb, Croatia (Culture)
  • Zakopane, Poland (Beauty)
  • Zürich, Switzerland (Beauty)

The following web sites will list some of the most desirable destinations by travelers;
TheplanetD.com
Ranker.com
Wonderlust.com
Theworldpursuit.com

Popular Regions in Europe…

  • Algarve Coast – Portugal
    • The Atlantic coast line in Southern Portugal includes Lagos and Faro.
  • Amalfi Coast – Italy
    • South of Naples & Pompeii where Sorrento, Salerno and Capri Island are located.
  • Andalusia – Spain
    • The old Moorish province in southern Spain where Sevilla, Granada, Malaga and Marbella are located.
  • Amalfi Coast – Italy
    • South of Naples & Pompeii where Sorrento, Salerno and Capri Island are located.
  • Bavaria’s Upper Region – Germany
    • The area in and around Munich in southeast Germany.
  • Balearic Islands
    • Off the Eastern Mediterranean coast and home to Mallorca, Ibiza and Menorca.
  • The Bernese Oberland
    • Located at the base of Jungfrau, Eiger and Mönch  with Lauterbrunnen Valley, Grindelwald and Interlaken
  • Black Forest – Germany
    • Located in southwest Germany’s Baden-Würtemburg and boarded by the Rhine river on the west. Mountainous region with dense forest and spa towns like Baden-Baden and Bad Wildbad. Old world charm cities Heidelberg and Freiburg. 
  • Catalonia – Spain
    • The province in Northeast Spain where Barcelona and the Costa Brava are located.
  • Cinque Terra – Italy
    • Five small coastal villages off the Ligurian Sea south of Genoa,
  • Cote d’Azur- France
    • The region where Nice, Monaco, the French Riviera and the Southernmost Alps in France are located.
  • Dalmation Coast – Croatia
    • (Jadranska Hrvatska), the Adriatic coastal region of Croatia, Includes Dubrovnik, Split, Hvar, Korcula, Rovinj, Pula and Zadar 
  • Danube River – Germany / Austria / Hungary
    • One of the largest cruise rivers in Europe that will include visits to Vienna and Budapest.
  • Emila – Romagna Region – Italy
    • Area in Northern Italy with Rimini, San Marino, Bologna and Parma towns.
  • The Fjords – Norway
    • Long deep narrow inlets with steep land on its sides located off west Norway’s Atlantic coast and the classic sea city of Bergen.
  • Flanders – Belgium
    • Western Belgium between France and the Netherlands on the North Sea coast. Historic WWI sites and well preserved cities of Bruges, Ghent, Leuven and Antwerp.
  • Greek Islands – Greece
    • South Aegean Sea area that includes Crete, Santorini, Mykonos and Rhodes islands.
  • Ile De France
    • The area that include in and around Paris.
  • Lazio region – Italy
    • Area in and around Rome includes the ruins of ancient Rome, the Vatican City, Ostia and Tivoli.
  • London Area – United Kingdom
    • In southeast England with inner London as the area of most interests.
  • Rhine River – Germany
    • Popular cruise, passes castles from Basel to Amsterdam that includes Strasbourg, Kloblenz and Cologne.
  • Tirol region – Austria
    • Province in the high Alps, Innsbruck is the largest town.
  • Transylvania – Romania
    • In the Carpathian Mountain region with dense forests and castles like Corvin and Peles.
  • Tuscany Region – Italy
    • Florence, Siena and other towns on the rolling hills of Tuscany. 
  • Veneto Region – Italy
    • Area in and around Venice’s lagoon and also Padua and Vicenza.