For years, something about the frigid island nation of Iceland has been calling me. The Northern Lights, the hot springs, the quirky culture, the scenic countryside, the waterfalls, and the glaciers have all created a sort of mystical quality about Iceland, and I can’t wait to experience it for myself.
Everyone I know who has visited Iceland raves about the place, so it has always been on my radar. Iceland easily tops the list of the six European countries I most want to visit. Keep reading to see the rest of the places that are enticing me as I begin to plan a lengthy trip to the continent.
With its museums, art, and vibrant nightlife, Berlin is one of the cultural capitals of the world. History is everywhere, from the Berlin Wall Memorial to Checkpoint Charlie. Although my trip to Germany will definitely be Berlin-focused, Munich, Hamburg, and Dusseldorf would be great to visit if I have time. There’s so much to see, and fortunately getting around the country is easy.
I’m always curious to visit destinations that create major players in the world of pop culture, and Sweden’s status as an unlikely producer of pop music stars (Robyn, Avicii, Tove Lo, Lykke Li) is very intriguing. Stockholm is especially beautiful in the summer, I hear, when its cobblestone streets are fun to explore. And Sweden has some of the best wildlife watching on the continent, with moose, elk, bears, and wolves.
Photo by the author
There’s nothing better than a country that has both man-made attractions and natural beauty. With its ancient structures and world-class beaches, Greece fits both categories. You could probably spend a solid week exploring the Parthenon, Temple of Aphaia, Theatre of Dionysus, and other historic Greek structures. But I will definitely want to see the landscapes and beaches of Santorini and Mykonos as well.
This one’s a no-brainer. Most Americans who travel to Europe will spend some time in London at some point, and with good reason. I imagine it will be much like visiting Canada — while the language is the same, the culture and history have some notable differences. As a Beatles nut, I will be sure to visit Abbey Road and every other location of note in Beatles lore, in addition to the typical tourist spots like Big Ben and Stonehenge.
The appeal of Belgium goes way beyond waffles, chocolate, and craft beers, although I will absolutely enjoy those delights while I’m in the country. Belgium has sites that aren’t found in most places, like preserved trenches from World War I at Ypres and the stunning architecture of Grand Place in Antwerp. I will probably try to visit Belgium in August to coincide with the annual Pukkelpop music festival.
Making a European Trip Possible
Unlike single-car American road trips, most visits to Europe will require traveling via trains, buses, and planes. Getting around is not difficult with resources like GoEuro’s Trip Planner, which details the most efficient ways for booking travel from place to place and offers tips for planning a visit to the continent.