Top Places to Travel in Europe
If you’re feeling that wanderlust set in, we know why! Summer is just weeks away, school will be out soon, college semesters are already ending, and longer days, shorter nights, and warm weather has all of us thinking about making airline reservations for international travel.
If you’re like us and you’ve got your eyes set on the natural wonders of Europe, we put together some helpful information that focuses on the key criteria we use when planning trips to Europe to create world travel posters, vintage travel art, and European-inspired art.
Backpacking in Europe
The best places to backpack in Europe are usually visited during summer to allow backpackers good weather and plenty of daylight hours. While every European country has some hiking trails and beautiful natural features to witness and enjoy, we picked out the best hiking trails in Europe and included them below. Because these trails are so popular, finding camp sites and local towns for restocking provisions is quite feasible.
Three hiking trails in Europe we’re excited to explore include:
1). Pennine Way, U.K. About 150,000 people use the trail yearly, many just for a day’s stroll, while about 3,500 hardy souls walk it over several weeks.
2). Camino de Santiago, Spain. Nearly 350,000 people hike this trail each year. This is one of the most famous hiking trails in the world!
3). The West Highland Way, Scotland. 35,000 attempt to complete this 96-mile trail each year.
Best European Cities to Visit
The best European cities are also often the most visited cities in Europe. From our research, the following are the twenty European cities that attract the most visitors:
1). London, United Kingdom — 19.6 Million Annual Visitors.
2). Paris, France – 19.1 Million Annual Visitors.
3). Istanbul, Turkey – 14.7 Million Annual Visitors.
4). Rome, Italy – 10.3 Million Annual Visitors.
5). Amsterdam, Netherlands — 8.8 Million Annual Visitors.
6). Barcelona, Spain — 7 Million Annual Visitors.
7). Prague, Czech Republic — 6.8 Million Annual Visitors.
8). Vienna, Austria — 6.6 Million Annual Visitors.
9). Milan, Italy — 6.5 Million Annual Visitors.
10). Athens, Greece — 6.3 Million Annual Visitors.
11). Berlin, Germany — 6.3 Million Annual Visitors.
12). Moscow, Russia – 6 Million Annual Visitors.
13). Venice, Italy – 5.6 Million Annual Visitors.
14). Madrid, Spain – 5.6 Million Annual Visitors.
15). Dublin, Ireland – 5.5 Million Annual Visitors.
16). Florence, Italy – 5.1 Million Annual Visitors.
17). St. Petersburg, Russia – 4.5 Million Annual Visitors.
18). Brussels, Belgium – 4.3 Million Annual Visitors.
19). Munich, Germany – 4.2 Million Annual Visitors.
20). Hamburg, Germany – 4 Million Annual Visitors.
Combined, the above 20 cities receive over 100 million visitors yearly!
Cheapest Countries to Visit in Europe
Folks who regularly travel to Europe or live there will tell you that European tourism has exploded in the last decade. Even with the Covid-19 pandemic slowing things down temporarily, 2021 and 2022 saw record-high tourism rates in many European countries.
With higher demand comes higher prices, and many wonder where they can travel in Europe on a budget. We did some research, and when we’re planning our trips to Europe to seek inspiration for European poster art and original art, we’ll be checking out the following:
Albania. Sharing borders with Greece, Kosovo, Montenegro, and North Macedonia, Albania is easy to get to yet still qualifies as an undiscovered gem of European travel. It’s also one of the sunniest countries in Europe and has beautiful beaches and quaint, sleepy towns. We recommend the Albanian Riviera, the Alps, Durres, and Tirana.
North Macedonia. With stunning mountains and a low cost of living, North Macedonia is perfect for the outdoor adventurer who seeks to see Europe on a budget. We recommend checking out Lake Ohrid, Pelister National Park, Bitola, and Skopje.
Serbia. Serbia is one of the cheapest countries in Europe to travel to and is one of the least-visited countries, enabling you to enjoy local attractions without the crowds. Also, much of the cuisine offered at local restaurants has an Ottoman/Mediterranean influence. Places to visit include Belgrade, Novia Sad, Fruška Gora National Park, and Tara National Park.
Safest Places to Travel in Europe
Particularly for those exploring Europe for the first time, safety is (and should be) a concern. Considering that, we also looked at Europe’s safest places to visit. A study we reviewed analyzed nine metrics of travel safety, including homicides, assaults, road fatalities, natural disaster risk, and the global peace index. Our top three picks for safe travel destinations in Europe include:
Switzerland. A new study we analyzed has revealed that Switzerland is the safest place in Europe! And with stunning ski slopes and scenic hiking trails, Switzerland is a bucket list destination for anyone who wants to travel to Europe with peace of mind and comfort.
Iceland. Iceland is the second safest country in Europe, second only to Switzerland. Quoting one article, “With very low numbers of robberies (14.6) and homicides (0.89) per 100,000 people and also ranking as one of the most peaceful nations as well, this country should be on any traveler’s bucket list.”
Norway. A peaceful Scandinavian country encompassing mountains, glaciers, and deep coastal fjords, Norway also has an extremely low crime rate, virtually no homicide, and very few robberies. The country records just two traffic accident injuries per 100,000 people yearly, compared to around 800 injuries per 100,000 in the U.S.
Best European Honeymoon Destinations
What’s more romantic than Europe? Europe is a first choice for newlyweds, from the Renaissance architecture to the vineyards and wine country, the stunning beaches, rolling mountain ranges, historic towns, and romantic languages.
Our three favorite picks for the best European honeymoon destinations are:
Paris, France. Paris has the coveted title of “The City of Love” for a reason! Everything about this city has a unique romantic appeal, from the Louvre Museum to the Eiffel Tower and the quaint street cafes.
Sicily. This island off the coast of Italy combines island culture with Italian aesthetics. From beautiful beaches to out-of-this-world food, architecture, art, and ancient ruins, there is much for the adventurous newlywed couple to see and do.
Denmark. It might not be a destination that pops into mind when considering honeymoon travel. Still, quoting one article by an author specializing in honeymoon planning, “The gorgeous Scandinavian home of the Little Mermaid sculpture, grand castles, and tons of hyper-influential design is easily navigable and intimate. Beyond the city, take day trips to hike in wooded Edens, and by night cuddle up at a top hotel like the iconic Hotel d’Angleterre with your one true love in hygge style, with an excess of candles, wine, sweets, and a fire roaring in the background.”
Best European Family Vacations
Most people travel to Europe during the summer because it’s the best time to bring the whole family. When Anderson Design Group sends artists to a location, we’re always keeping an eye out for critical features like accessibility and kid-friendly environments, so we picked the following as our favorite choices for the best European family destinations:
Rome, Italy. There is so much to see and do in Rome! Children will enjoy the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. Plus, they’ll enjoy playing by the city’s Bernini fountains and beautiful squares, such as Saint Peter’s and Piazza Navona.
Madeira, Portugal. A mix of black-sand beaches, lush mountain trails, natural rock pools, and a semi-tropical climate make Madeira, Portugal a favorite vacation spot for adults and kiddos. Children are particularly fond of the guided toboggan rides down the city’s steep streets.
Bruges, Belgium. Kid-friendly, the chocolate shops and swan-inhabited canals add detail and fun to Bruges, Belgium. Further, the ancient architecture is much like something from a child’s Flemish fairytale. The maze of waterways is fun to walk along, and the Belfry Tower provides a continuous serenade to the town, courtesy of the 47-bell carillon. Children can expend their energy and excitement by climbing 366 steps to the top and being rewarded with a view straight to the North Sea.
Best European Airlines
What about how you’re going to get there? As artists who travel in search of inspiration, we know all about the challenges of itineraries, plane tickets, hotel reservations, and car rentals. Finding the best European airline is often the first step to planning a summer trip to Europe, so we thought we’d share our top picks (which also happen to be airlines that have won awards for the world’s best airlines):
Lufthansa. This German-based airline is known for its impeccable service and luxurious amenities. Further, this airline flies to destinations all across Europe, including Munich, London, and Rome, as well as more off-the-beaten-path destinations like Reykjavik and Dubrovnik.
Air France. Air France is the best choice for flying from the U.S. to Europe, and it has a reputation for excellent service and comfortable flights. Paris, London, and Amsterdam are popular hubs serviced by this airline, and lesser-known gems like Nice, Marseille, and Lyon are also available. Plus, this airline has a strong presence in Africa and the Caribbean.
KLM. Also known as Royal Dutch Airlines, KLM is one of the oldest airlines in Europe. It is also the founder of the SkyTeam Alliance, a network of airlines that includes big names like Delta and Air France. Further, this airline is at the cutting edge of sustainability. Quoting one article, “One of the things that makes KLM special is its commitment to sustainability. The airline has set a goal to achieve zero net CO2 emissions by 2050. As such, it has been investing in more fuel-efficient aircraft and reducing waste on board.”
Travel Decor and Souvenir Ideas from Your Trip to Europe
If you’re looking for inspiration for a trip to Europe, or if you’ve already been and you want something to commemorate the experience, you need unique, original, handcrafted travel art to hang on your wall. Europe prints such as these will constantly remind you of your trip, taking you back to those precious moments abroad every time you look at the art.
In 2010, our award-winning poster artists decided to create classic travel posters featuring our favorite destinations around the globe. Chock-full of Europe adventure travel art and art from across the planet, the World Travel Poster series now features a poster for every country in Central America, South America, North America, Asia, Europe, and Africa.
But we haven’t stopped there! We will continue our quest to produce designs that celebrate the most beloved cities and destinations on every continent and in every country. Rendered in the classic look of the Golden Age of Travel Posters and fashioned after vintage travel poster art, our adventurous designs will help you celebrate your favorite memories and share your journeys to Europe this summer. Collect and display a print from each place you’ve visited. Or create a gallery of the dream destinations on your bucket list. We offer a world of possibilities!
Until next time, have fun planning your European adventure!
Anderson Design Group Staff Writer