23 Best Destinations to Visit in Europe

As the year comes to a close, it’s time to focus on the future. For me, that means making a list of places that I want to visit (both this year and in future years!). I partnered with other travel bloggers to bring our recommendations for 23 places to go in Europe in 2023! From breathtaking nature to beautiful cities, you’ll be sure to find somewhere amazing to go! Please research any local covid-19 policies and travel safely!

Be sure to check out the rest of the series – Dream Destinations in the United StatesSouth AmericaAsia, Africa, and Oceania!

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Andalucia, Spain

Andalucia is one of the most beautiful parts of Spain, with a rich heritage, fascinating history, delicious food, and plenty of things to do and see. Home to the highest mountains in continental Spain but also to the country’s most beautiful stretches of coastline, there is something for everyone in Andalucia.

The cities of Granada, Cordoba, and Sevilla have the most fascinating Moorish fortresses, landscaped gardens, and palaces. In between, dotted along the mountainsides, you will find the famous white villages of Andalucia, built strategically for defense and now some of the most charming places to visit. Just outside of Granada, in the Northern foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains, you will find Guadix, a city in which some people have lived for centuries and are still living in caves.

The coast is divided between the different municipalities of Andalucia. The most famous one, where hundreds of thousands of tourists go every year is Costa del Sol. Marbella, Benalmadena, Torremolinos and Estepona attract beachgoers as well as golfers, who come to play on one of the award-winning golf courses around Malaga. The gems of Andalucia are however Costa de la Luz – where Cadiz is, and Costa Tropical – where Salobrena and Almunecar are. Here you can escape the crowds of tourists and enjoy the real Andaluz lifestyle.

There are plenty of amazing hotels in Andalucia, but if you are looking for something special, check out Convento de la Magdalena near Antequera, a hotel built inside an old convent.

Annecy, France

If there is one place that you must visit in Europe during 2022, make it Annecy, France. This smaller city is located in the southeast of France in the alps, only about 50 km from Geneva, Switzerland. 

Known as the “Venice of France,” Annecy is full of the most charming canals lined with colorful flowers. The canals lead up to one of the most beautiful alpine lakes called Lake Annecy. Be entranced by the mountains on the other side of the lake and the crystal clear waters as you partake in a paddleboat ride. 

Then, be sure to visit the Old Town Market. This sprawling farmer’s market takes place throughout the year on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Sundays from 7 am-1 pm. Pick up local meats, cheeses, fruits, veggies, and bread before making a picnic by Lake Annecy. It is the perfect way to spend an afternoon!

While you’re in the area, definitely check out the wineries of the Savoie wine region too. Known for white wines, you can explore the vineyards and beautiful mountain slopes as you sip crisp Jacquère and Roussanne. Being located in the French alps, expect some delicious, hearty (and cheesy) alpine food. L’Etage serves up alpine classics like fondue and raclette. After adventuring around Annecy, rest up at Atipik Hôtel Alexandra, a lovely hotel right next to the old city. 

Annecy may be a smaller city in Europe, but with its alpine lake, charming canals, and delicious gastronomy, you’ll be wanting to return to this medieval city time and again!

Annecy, France. Photo by World Wide Honeymoon.

Bansko, Bulgaria

Located at the foot of the Pirin National Park is the mountain town of Bansko, Bulgaria.   Bansko is Bulgaria’s largest ski resort during the winter when you’ll find cheap skiing and excellent quality mehanas (restaurants) serving great local food.   The Baryakova restaurant has long been a town favorite with locals and visitors alike.  Aside from skiing, there’s some great snowshoeing, ice skating, and incredible hot springs and spas here.  Once the snow goes (usually early April), then you can try out some of the glorious hiking trails through the National Park, which has a series of mountain huts where board and lodge are offered to visitors.   

There’s also an excellent mountain biking community, horse riding and hot air balloon trips too!  Summer in Bansko sees Bulgarians heading to the mountains for some respite from the two major Bulgarian cities, Plovdiv and Sofia, the capital just 2 hours away.   You’ll also be able to take in the international Jazz Festival in  August – it’s free and is a fabulous way to spend a summer evening.   There’s plenty of accommodation here, but you’re likely to be able to snap up a room at the Five Star Kempinski Grand Arena out of ski season for as little as 45 euros a night!

The mountains of Bansko. Photo by A Social Nomad.

Berlin, Germany

Recommended by Me, The Directionally Challenged Traveler

Berlin is a wonderful mixture of history and culture that often takes visitors by surprise. It continues to evolve and change throughout the years. In 2022, numerous new museums opened including a Samurai Museum Berlin, a Computer Games Museum, and the Stabi Kulturwerk. The Stabi Kulturwerk has thousands of artefacts from over 600 years of library history! It’s a unique museum perfect for the book-loving traveler!

Seeing the Berlin Wall up close is like time traveling through history. Standing near the wall is a humbling experience. The art is eye-catching but the symbolism is more important. Speaking of history, be sure to pay your respects at the Holocaust Memorial. It’s in the heart of the city and is a powerful memorial.

Be sure to spend at least two days in Berlin to really get a feel for the city.

Photo by Alana Harris on Unsplash

Cardiff, Wales

Cardiff is the capital city of Wales and, because it’s such an underrated and off-the-beaten-path city, it’s one of the best places to visit in Europe in 2022. 

When visiting Cardiff, you must explore the history of the city which includes visiting Cardiff Castle right in the centre of the city, Castell Coch which looks like a fairytale castle, and St Fagans, the outdoor, natural museum of Welsh history where you can learn about traditional Welsh life. Speaking of tradition, you cannot visit Cardiff without sampling classic Welsh cuisine such as a hot bowl of Cawl, locally brewed beer and delicious Welsh cakes. You can get the very best food, both local and international, as well as some retail therapy in the popular Cardiff Indoor Market!

A good place to stay in Cardiff on a budget is the Bunkhouse hostel or for somewhere mid-range try the Mercure Holland House on Newport Road. Both options are in the city centre and within walking distance of the top attractions. The great advantage of Cardiff is that everything is within walking distance and there are lots of things to do packed in the centre of the city. If you find yourself in Cardiff when the Wales rugby team is playing, you’re in for a treat to witness the passion and patriotism of the Welsh people.

Cardiff, Wales. Photo by The Happy Days Travels.

Dublin, Ireland

One of my favorite cities, Dublin, is often an overlooked destination. However, it should be on your list of cities to visit in Europe in 2022. There are plenty of things to do in Dublin that even just walking around you’ll find awesome hidden gems.

While it might seem a bit odd to walk around a college campus, Trinity College should be an exception. The stunning campus is also home to the Book of Kells – a stunning piece of art! After you’re done on campus, head to Dublin Castle. The castle looms over the city and honestly, looks a bit out of place but it is a pretty cool place to visit! On this side of the River Liffey, you’ll also find St. Stephen’s Green, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and the Temple Bar area.

When walking down the River Liffey, you’ll see a lot of bridges, but none so picturesque as the Ha’penny Bridge (pictured below). The white bridge dates back to 1816 and gets its nickname from the cost of the toll to cross it (a halfpenny). There isn’t a fee today, so enjoy the walk!

On the other side of the Liffey you’ll find the Jameson Distillery, the National Museum of Ireland, and even the National Leprechaun Museum of Ireland! Dublin truly has something for everyone and shouldn’t be missed in 2022!

Ha’Penny Bridge in Dublin. Photo by The Directionally Challenged Traveler

Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh Castle looms over the city and is an impressive feat of architecture. You can get a bird’s eye view of the city from the walls. It was built in 1296 and stands on the site of an earlier castle. It is one of Scotland‘s most popular tourist attractions and is home to the Crown Jewels.

From the castle, you can walk down the Royal Mile. It’s actually a little over 1 mile long. It’s home to numerous restaurants, museums, and hidden gems! Enjoy street performers, haggis, and (if you’re over 21) a whisky tasting. Keep an eye out for the Heart of Midlothian – a cobblestone heart marking where a number of public executions took place. Don’t stand too close though – it’s tradition that people spit on the heart! 

St. Giles’ Cathedral has an impressive exterior and is equally beautiful on the inside. Saint Giles is the patron saint of Edinburgh, lepers, and cripples. At the bottom of the Royal Mile is the Palace of Holyrood House – the official residence of the Queen when she is in Scotland. If she’s not in residence, you can take a tour of the fourteen apartments and gardens. 

Edinburgh is a great city to visit and start your Scotland vacation in 2023! 

The side of Edinburgh Castle. Photo by the Directionally Challenged Traveler

The Fjords in Norway

If you’re looking for a once-in-a-lifetime destination for 2022, you should take a look at Norway and the country’s beautiful fjords.

Start your journey in Bergen, Norway’s second city and gateway to the fjords. Spend a day or two in Bergen itself exploring the city – don’t miss the historic UNESCO heritage-listed Bryggen warehouses by the port and the funicular railway up to the top of Mount Fløyen for outstanding views of the islands that protect Bergen’s port from the North Sea.

Bergen sits between Norway’s longest fjord Sognefjord to the north and the beautiful Hardangerfjord to the south. One of the most popular ways to see the fjords is the Norway in a Nutshell self-guided tour which takes in a trip by electric boat on the Nærøyfjord and Aurlandsfjord. It also includes a trip on the Flåm Railway and the Bergen to Oslo line.

If you want to stay overnight in the heart of the fjords, consider staying at the Flåmsbrygga Hotel in Flåm, at the head of the Aurlandsfjord. This tiny village is busy with visitors during the day but peaceful at night, and is well-located for beautiful walks around the fjord. The hotel has two restaurants and its own microbrewery.

Nærøyfjord. Photo by Helen on Her Holidays.

Giethoorn, Netherlands

Welcome to Giethoorn, the Netherlands’ pride! Giethoorn is an enchanting little village northeast of Amsterdam. Its fame rests on the brand of peace and beauty that only Giethoorn can provide. People agree that this magical village in the province of Overijssel is worthy of its moniker – “Venice of the Netherlands”.

When in Giethoorn, get on one of the whisper boats for a magical ride along the lovely village canals. Gliding through the waterways of Giethoorn is one of the leading tourism draws here. Hop on a rented boat, see the sights, and pass through hundreds of wooden arch bridges and,  along with thatched-roof houses, cottages, parks, and cafés.

On land, visit Olde Maat Uus Museum to see and experience how the first settlers established their community and built this enchanting village. This is a must-see destination in Giethoorn.

Giethoorn is also popular for its Michelin-starred restaurants. Sample the best dishes at De Lindenhof, one of the best restaurants in the Netherlands. De Lindenhof serves dishes lovingly prepared by their internationally known, two Michelin-starred Chef Martin Kruithof.

Visit Giethoorn today and stay at Plompeblad Giethoorn, a B&B that is actually a farmhouse with two apartments. Plompeblad serves as a great base to explore Giethoorn and the surrounding areas.

Giethoorn, Netherlands. Photo by Ask The Dutch Guy

Helsinki, Finland

Recommended by Me, The Directionally Challenged Traveler

One of the most underrated cities in Scandinavia is the beautiful capital of Finland, Helsinki. Helsinki is smaller than its mainland Europe sisters like Rome and Paris, so you won’t find a lot of crowds around the city.

The iconic Senate Square is home to some of the most important buildings in the country. At the heart of the square is Helsinki Cathedral. The stairs outside are often a meeting point and hang-out location for locals. Both the inside and outside are stunning works of architecture. Nearby are the Government Palace, the university, and Sederholm house. Spend at least one day in Helsinki wandering the streets and you’re guaranteed to find hidden gems like the Kamppi Chapel (also known as the Chapel of Silence).

Don’t be afraid to join the locals in a traditional Finnish sauna. It’s estimated that there is a sauna for every 2 people in Finland! You’ll find them in most houses and accommodations throughout Helsinki, as well as public saunas. If you’re visiting in the winter, you can jump into cold water after for a true Finnish experience.

Be sure to stay at the Klaus K hotel for easy access to attractions and incredible Finnish design. They also have a delicious breakfast available during your stay!

Helsinki Cathedral in Helsinki, FInland
Helsinki Cathedral is an icon of Helsinki. Photo by The Directionally Challenged Traveler.

Istria, Croatia

Istria in Croatia is definitely one of the best places to visit in Europe! This wonderful peninsula enchants with a huge selection of romantic coastal towns, dream beaches like out from a travel magazine, and a romantic hinterland with wine hills almost like in Tuscany! Also, there is a wide range of possibilities for sports, such as SUP, kayaking, biking, and hiking.

A must-see is the colorful harbor town of Rovinj, perched on a hill overlooking the coast and enchanting with a beautiful old town. Another highlight of Istria is the nature park Cape Kamenjak with its amazing coastal landscapes and numerous beautiful beaches. Last, but not least don`t miss seeing the coastal city of Pula with the huge Roman amphitheater!

If you love to taste amazing food, you will find really good restaurants in Istria, the so-called konobas. A real insider tip is La Puntulina in Rovinj, where they serve excellent fish platters!

If you are planning a trip, it is best to visit Istria between May and October. In this period you can count on the best weather! The nearest international airports can be found in Pula and Rijeka.

Istria, Croatia. Photo by PlacesOfJuma

Lake Bled, Slovenia

Situated in the foothills of the Julian Alps, Lake Bled is a fascinating destination to visit in Slovenia. With its turquoise water, a postcard-perfect island and picturesque landscapes, Lake Bled looks like something out of a fairytale and is often regarded as one of the most beautiful places in Slovenia

Some of the most popular activities at Lake Bled are visiting the medieval Bled Castle, strolling along the scenic 6-km path around the lake and renting a rowboat to explore Bled Island and its church. If you’re in the mood for something more active, hike to the Ojstrica viewpoint for some incredible vistas of the lake or go paddle-boarding or swimming in the crystal clear water.

While visiting the lake, be sure to taste the Bled Cream Cake, a famous local dessert. One of the best places to enjoy this cake is the magnificent Cafe Belvedere that offers a breathtaking view of the lake and the island. 

Whether you prefer staying in a rustic cottage or a modern hotel, there’s an abundance of accommodation options to choose from around Lake Bled. One of the most unique places to stay here is Old Bled House, a boutique hotel set in a historical wooden house with quaint decor.

Lake Bled, Slovenia. Photo by The Smooth Escape.

Lucerne, Switzerland

The beautiful city of Lucerne is often an overlooked destination in Switzerland. This smaller city has plenty of personality, charm, and -of course- fondue, to please any visitor! 

There are plenty of things to do in Lucerne, including wandering through Old Town, go for a hike in the Swiss Alps, and visiting some of the islands in the middle of Lake Lucerne.

It’s impossible to miss the beautiful Chapel Bridge. It’s on Reichenau Island and is home to some intricate art, right on the bridge’s ceiling! If you want more art, head to Rietli Island, home to the Museum of Art and Culture.

Lake Lucerne is surrounded by the two highest mountains in Switzerland. Take a gondola to the top of Mount Rigi or Mount Pilatus. From the top of these mountains, you can see the entire lake and surrounding area. Don’t forget about the impressive past of this area. Lucerne was the main trading route of ancient Rome then was Napoleon’s empire capital.

For accommodation, check out Cascade Hotel in the heart of the city. Due to its beauty and charm, Lucerne should be on your 22 in 2022 European list!

Chapel Bridge in Lucerne. Photo by The Directionally Challenged Traveler.


For one of the best places to visit in Europe for 2023, find yourself planning a trip to Luxembourg! The city of Luxembourg is easy to get to since it’s surrounded by Belgium, France, and Germany. The main airport is within 15 mins from the city centre and easily reachable with free public transportation. 

For some nice things to do and explore, Luxembourg has many museums such as the MUDAM contemporary art museum and the local history museum. The city itself is well known for shopping with lots of local boutiques, which you can enjoy doing within the car-free centre.

If it’s good weather, walk along the Adolphe Bridge for pretty views, and then down into the valley towards Grund. It’s a gorgeous route through the city park with Grund being a great neighborhood for a bite to eat or an evening drink. For the bite to eat, find a seat at restaurant Bosso Luxembourg – they have a pretty garden outside area to sit at with delicious Mediterranean main courses. 

If you wish to stay in the city centre, find yourself booking a room at the Sofitel Luxembourg Le Grand Ducal. Here you can enjoy a comfy bed and clean room to relax in after long days exploring the city. Their lounge has a great view for sunset too! 

Luxemborg. Photo by Together in Transit.

Northumberland, England

Northumberland is England’s most northerly county, located on the stunning east coast.  The county has had a stormy history and boasts more than 70 castles, from the glorious Bamburgh Castle to the moody and atmospheric Dunstanburgh Castle and the incredible Alnwick Castle, more often recognized as Hogwarts in the Harry Potter movies.  So it goes without saying that visiting a castle should be one of the top things that you should do in Northumberland.  If you can only visit one make it Bamburgh Castle, high on the cliff above an awe-inspiring beach.  Make your trip extra special and stay in one of the luxurious apartments within the castle.   In Bamburgh, you’re not far from the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, where a ruined priory, another castle, and some glorious walks await.  Be sure to warm yourself up with some Lindisfarne Mead made to the original recipes from the monks of old!  You can only reach Lindisfarne by an ancient causeway and only then at certain states of the tide!  

For an unforgettable trip take a boat trip from nearby Seahouses to the Farne Islands – home of puffins, seals and migratory birds galore.  It truly is stunning.   And then fill up on some local fare.  Northumberland is famous for smoked kippers and the best place to get them is the Robson smokehouse in Craster (which you’ll walk through if you visit Dunstanburgh Castle) – Kippers are actually a Northumberland breakfast delicacy, but they’re also excellent with some thick-cut brown bread, butter and served as a picnic on this stunning coast.

Bamburgh Castle. Photo by Northumberland’s Best

Porto, Portugal

Porto is a beautiful city located in Portugal. Its unique location is right by the ocean but also by a river, so you have a lot of options for activities on the water. Take a boat cruise along the river and admire the many bridges that connect the two sides of the city. The Dom Luis Bridge is definitely the most impressive and has been compared to the Eiffel Tower with its unique architecture. Porto is divided in two by the river. The southern part is called Villa Nova de Gaia, which is where most of the Porto wine cellars are located. Come here to get free tastings of some of the world’s best port wine and enjoy a nice dinner by the water. Of course, like in any large city, Porto has a lot of scams that tourists frequently fall victim to. Be sure to research those before you go so you’re prepared. On a lighter note, definitely visit Porto’s famous blue churches – which are some of the most beautiful in the area. You also absolutely need to try the francesinha, a delicious sandwich which Porto is famous for. The restaurant Santa Francesinha is one of the best places to go for this delicacy.

The Vila Nova de Gaia is a great hotel to explore this wonderful city from!

The rooftops of Porto. Photo by Guide Your Travel.

Plan your weekend to Porto here.

Reykjavik, Iceland

Most people would skip over Reykjavik due to the cold weather, and just get exploring the wonderful nature of Iceland. The northernmost capital of the world is a wonderful mix of city and nature. You’ll want to spend a few days exploring Reykjavik before wandering through the rest of Iceland.

There are plenty of ways to spend a few days in Reykjavik including whale watching, touring the famous Golden Circle, warming up in a hot spring, or even going inside the Raufarholshellir Lava Tunnel! Taste the world-famous hot dog at Baejarins Beztu Pylsur (literally translated to Best Hot Dogs in Town” and wash it down with some Brennivin, the local drink. Don’t forget to explore the Iceland Phallological Museum – featuring hundreds of penises and penile parts of animals from around the world (it’s the world’s largest display!)

One of the best things to do in Reykjavik is going searching for the Northern Lights. They’re most frequent in the winter months since it gets darker earlier. While you can travel north of the city for some incredible views, there is the Grotta Nature Reserve not too far from the city. Locals and tourists alike hope to see the sky light up! 

Due to its perfect location for exploring all of Iceland, Reykjavik is a must-visit destination! 

Reykjavik from Hallgrimska Church.

Rome, Italy

Rome, the Eternal City, was a city I wasn’t expecting to actually enjoy. I’m not a huge fan of history and I knew it would be really crowded. While there were a lot of tourists, and plenty of history, I did thoroughly enjoy the city. Rome has seen so much of the world’s history it’s impossible to not be impressed.

The breathtaking Colosseum, next to the Roman Forum is worth a visit. You must reserve a time to visit in order to control the number of people at the same time. While there are a number of tours you could do, Rick Steve’s has an awesome self-guided tour of the Colosseum so you can take your time! Within walking distance of the Colosseum is the Pantheon. It’s free to enter and is over 2,000 years old, On your way to the Pantheon, walk through the Jewish ghetto. There are an impressive number of places to eat in the area, but the real hidden gems are the gold placards remembering the victims of the Holocaust.

While you’re visiting Rome, head to Vatican City for a day. Be sure to cover your shoulders and knees – the dress code is enforced. This micro country has incredible art – including the Sistine Chapel. Take a guided tour through the Vatican so you can really understand the history and importance of each room. At the top of St. Peter’s Basilica, you can get a bird’s eye view of Piazza San Pietro.

If you stop at the Trevi fountain, throw a coin over your left shoulder. Legend has it that if you do that, you’ll be guaranteed to visit Rome again. Bonus, the money collected in the fountain is collected every night and donated to charity! Be sure to have Rome on your list to visit in 2023!

Trevi Fountain, Rome. Photo by the Directionally Challenged Traveler.

San Marino, San Marino

One of the coolest places to visit in 2023 would have to be the oldest country in the world! San Marino is a micro country completely surrounded by Italy, and often overlooked by travelers! The capital city, San Marino, is in the heart of the country on the top of Monte Titano. At the top of the mountain, you’ll have (literally) breathtaking views of the Italian countryside that seem to go on forever.

The best thing to do in San Marino is to explore the historic castle on the three peaks of Monte Titano.

Three medieval towers overlooking the entire city. The oldest of them, Guaita, is the largest and most popular. Spend some time walking through the rooms and imagining what life was like centuries ago! The second, Cesta, is home to a museum with thousands of weapons dating back to Medieval times. The third, Montale, is closed to the public.

While the country may be small, it boasts a number of museums that are worth a visit. The beautiful Basilica de San Marino and the National Museum can transport travelers back in time throughout history. Car lovers should visit the Maranello Rosso Ferrari Museum which has cars dating back to 1951 (and even one owned by Marilyn Monroe). For an off-the-beaten-path museum, visit the Torture Museum. It’s right across the street from Hotel Cesare – which is the perfect accommodation to explore the city from.

No matter what you decide to see in San Marino, you’ll be glad you visited this beautiful city in Europe.

The castle of San Marino. Photo by The Directionally Challenged Traveler.

Stockholm, Sweden

The Scandinavian country of Sweden should be on every traveller’s bucket list! In the capital city of Stockholm you will find a unique mix of the old interspersed with the new.

The city itself is supported by an extensive public transport system (metro, bus, and tram network), but it is easy to explore on foot. The ‘old town’ of Gamla Stan is the ideal place to base yourself due to its close proximity to the major sights, and abundance of quirky coffee shops and fantastic restaurants. Enjoy lunch at the Jerusalem Kebab and Café and order the infamous Swedish Kebab Pizza. You won’t be sorry!

You are spoilt for choice when it comes to things to see and do in Stockholm city. There is something for everyone – scenic, historical, cultural, and fun. In the Gamla Stan area, there are a number of attractions including The Nobel Museum, The Swedish Royal Palace, and the Vasa Museum.

No trip to Stockholm is complete without a visit to the ABBA Museum which showcases their costumes and various memorabilia. If you are looking to have a bit of fun, visit Grona Lund, the oldest amusement park in Sweden.

However, if scenic views and nature are what you are looking for, hop on one of the numerous ferries and explore the Stockholm Archipelago which consists of charming villages and small coastal towns scattered amongst the 30,000 islands. The Radisson Blu Hotel has great waterfront views and the location is perfect for exploring!

The Stockholm Ferry. Photo by Exit45 Travels

Tirana, Albania

Tirana, the capital of Albania is a fascinating mix of old and new. The country only opened its borders to the outside world in 1992 after 47 years of oppressive Stalinist isolation under dictator Enver Hoxha, and you can still see glimpses of Albania’s communist past in vast Skanderbeg Square (once a parade ground decorated with statues of Stalin and Hoxha), and the building that surrounds it – the white stone Palace of Culture looks like many of the Soviet-era buildings found in Russia; in fact, it was built in the 1960s as a gift from the Soviet people, and Nikita Khrushchev laid the first stone! On another side of the square, a vast mosaic in Socialist Realist style covers the front of the National Historical Museum. 

Two other places you can’t miss in Tirana are: 

Bunk’art II: a preserved nuclear bunker which is now a museum, with tunnels and rooms spreading far beneath the pavement. In the 1970s, Hoxha had hundreds of thousands of these bunkers built throughout the country! The exhibitions inside about the political persecution of Albanians by their own government are very moving, but we feel that it is important to learn about and remember the darker chapters of Albanian history.  

Hajji Et’hem Bey Mosque: Built in 1819. Religion was banned under communist rule and many of the mosques in Tirana were destroyed or changed into secular buildings, so this beautiful mosque is seen today as a symbol of freedom. The inside is completely covered with gorgeous hand-painted frescoes of flowers and bridges, and next to the mosque is a 19th-century clock tower that you can climb for a small fee, for views over Skanderbeg Square. 

If you would like to try traditional Albanian food with a modern flair, we would recommend Mullixhiu, an award-winning restaurant tucked away in the Grand Park of Tirana. They have an amazing tasting menu that will guide you through several iconic Albanian dishes such as Qifqi rice balls, meatballs, and trout. 

We stayed in the Hotel Arber, a 3-star hotel 5 minutes walk from Skanderbeg Square with a bar and an excellent breakfast buffet. 

Skanderbeg Square looking at the Palace of Culture Opera House. Photo by Team Thomas Travels.

Valletta, Malta

At just 0.6 square kilometers, picturesque Valletta in Malta is the smallest capital city in the EU. And because of its small size, it’s perfect for walking and exploring. It may be small, but there’s a lot to see in this gorgeous UNESCO city. You definitely should visit the stunning St John’s Co-Cathedral to admire the Baroque art, discover the floor tombs of the Knights of St. John, and admire the incredible artwork by Caravaggio.

And while you are there, don’t forget to admire the views across the Grand Harbour from Upper Barrakka Gardens – be there at noon to enjoy the pomp and ceremony of the midday gun salute. But the best way to truly appreciate this city is to lose yourself in the streets and soak in the atmosphere.

Feeling hungry? Head to the charming and quirky Museum Cafe just a two-minute walk from the Cathedral for a light lunch.

For dinner, you can’t go wrong with Aaron’s Kitchen. Reservations are recommended, especially at weekends.

For accommodation, there are several new boutique hotels popping up all over the city, but for timely elegance and great afternoon teas, choose The Phoenicia Hotel, located just by the main city gate. It’s a perfect base for exploring Valletta.

Drone view of Valletta. Photo by LifePart2

Venice, Italy

Venice is a traveler’s dream – iconic gondolas on the water, gelato on every corner, and breathtaking architecture capture the eye at each glance. It’s almost impossible to not fall in love with Venice. 

Even if you only have one day in Venice, you can see a lot! St. Mark’s Square is in the center of the city, making it a great place to start exploring. You’ll find the Campanile di San Marco, Doge’s Palace, and Basilica di San Marco in the heart of the plaza. You can visit all three of them within a few hours. 

Getting lost among the winding alleys of Venice is a treat. Small shops featuring delicious food, Italian coffees, and souvenirs line the streets. Enjoy some afternoon cicchetti (similar to tapas in Spain), before taking an evening gondola ride. Seeing the city, including Rialto Bridge and the Bridge of Sighs, on the water is something you’ll never forget. 

The Relais Piazza San Marco is a wonderful accommodation in the heart of the city. 

St. Mark’s Square featuring the Basilica and Campanile. Photo by The Directionally Challenged Traveler

Pin “23 Places to go in Europe in 2023” for later!

22 Places in Europe to visit in 2022
22 Places in Europe to visit in 2022
22 Places in Europe to visit in 2022

Did any of these make your list? Is there somewhere that you would add? Let me know in the comments!

13 thoughts on “23 Best Places to Visit in Europe in 2023”

  1. Oh man, this post has me itching to book flights somewhere. I haven’t been in Europe since December 2019 (Ireland) and I’m dying to return. I think 2022 is going to be spent exploring my favorite continent.

  2. So many great suggestions. I have visited a few of these spots already and highly recommend them. Others are still on my bucket list and hopefully 2022 is the year to resume travel safely.

  3. This is a very cool list of must-see European destinations, the only other one I would add is Poland — such interesting history, spectacular landscapes, delish food and really affordable too. 🙂

  4. Croatia is at the top of my list of places I’d like to visit in Europe. I’d love to sail around some of the islands and explore the seaside as well as some of the towns.

  5. There’s so much places to explore! I’d love to do the fjords and more of Eastern Europe. Slovenia and Croatia are high on my list right now.

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