The Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Every European Country
Posted on 06 September 2018
Dreaming of a trip to Europe? The Thrillist has listed the best places in each European country to explore, all 48 of them! What are you waiting for?
Is Albania at the top of your beach vacation wishlist this summer? Didn’t think so. Maybe that’s because you haven’t seen the beach at Ksamil, the jewel of the Albanian Riviera, with dazzling white sand, turquoise water, and three idyllic islands in the bay. Don’t forget your snorkel.
Lagos de Tristaina
These high-mountain lakes are your reward for taking on the Estanys de Tristaina hiking trail, a 3-mile route next to the French border in the north of this bite-sized principality. Free-grazing horses hang out up here, presumably for the killer combination of fresh water and awesome views. Take a picnic, and something to wear for your well-earned dip.
This 1,000-year-old monastery has endured a history almost as dramatic as its clifftop setting, with imperial invaders taking turns ransacking it and even the odd earthquake shaking things up. Legend has it that the name comes from the time an apprentice fell from the tower and called out for God to give him wings -- “Ta tev” in Armenian. Probably best not to check if that trick still works.
Alpbach’s been voted Austria’s most beautiful village by... all of the people in all of Austria (we chose Hallstatt, but maybe they know better). The area's lush green fields were reportedly a filming location for The Sound of Music and in the winter, the hills are even more alive as snow-caked ski runs.
This 16th-century castle was built in Gothic Belarussian style, before Baroque and Renaissance touches were added on by a later owner -- so really it’s a wonder it has turned out so pretty. Inside, it’s a treasure trove of history, from the castle’s aristocratic origins to its conversion to a Jewish ghetto during World War II.
This poppy field isn’t only beautiful; it's also deeply symbolic. After World War I, vivid red flowers sprung up on former battlefields like this one, and the image is now synonymous with the heavy burdens of war. Today, Flanders Fields is also a much-visited cemetery and memorial.
The River Pliva plunges into the River Vrbas right in center of Jajce, a pretty hillside town two-and-a-half hours from Sarajevo. The 60-foot wall of water is spectacular year-round, but come on the first weekend in August and you get the added thrill of seeing people far less sane than you compete in the annual jumping contest.
Seven Rila Lakes
Ask any Bulgarian, and they’ll tell you the Seven Rila Lakes is not to be missed. These seven glacial pools are rugged and majestic, sitting 8,200 feet above sea level in the country’s remote northwest. A day’s trek around this meandering region, and you'll understand the meaning of living free.
Plitvice Lakes National Park
You’ve seen these waterfalls before -- on Pinterest, or Instagram, or your dad’s desktop screensaver. It looks like something out of FernGully. While Plitvice’s waterfalls are undeniably the most beautiful, you might also try the nearby but lesser-known Krka National Park; it’s about 80% as scenic, but unlike at Plitvice you can actually go swimming.
Aphrodite's Rock (Petra tou Romiou)
Greek mythology says this boulder marks the spot where the Goddess of Love was born amid wild, churning water. Which makes sense, as the waves are rough and swimming is ill-advised (although local legend has it that anyone who does will be blessed with eternal beauty -- assuming, of course, that they survive).
Prague tends to take a lot of credit for the Czechia's beauty, but there’s something equally as magnetic -- and delightfully underrated -- about Moravia. These emerald landscapes and vineyards seem to stretch on forever. Maybe it’s the wine goggles, but settling down here doesn’t sound like such a bad idea.
For years, Denmark’s artistic and bohemian crowd have been coming to Skagen for inspiration. The scenery is amazing, crystal blue waters layered with colorful fishing boats and the most surreal sunsets. At the tip of Skagen you can find Råbjerg Mile, northern Europe’s largest wandering sand dunes. Although where they're wandering, nobody knows. Badum-ching!
Estonia’s capital is one of few destinations in the world that seamlessly blends medieval and modern, with glass skyscrapers and ancient turrets both locked in the same gaze. Tallinn’s one of Europe’s best-preserved walled cities, and 21st-century history definitely adds another interesting veneer to its rickety cobblestone streets. And it’s cheap, to boot.
Finnish Lakeland (Järvi-Suomi)
Thousands of years ago, continental glaciers shifted to create one of Europe’s most striking natural masterpieces: Järvi-Suomi, or the Finnish Lakeland. It’s the continent’s largest lake district, an incredible labyrinth of thousands of ponds, rivers, islands, and streams.
Giverny is the real-life setting for some of Claude Monet’s most famous works. Today, the birthplace of French impressionism is every bit as stunning as it was in watercolor: a fairytale garden of rose arches, weeping willows, and water lilies tucked into Normandy’s countryside.
This village of 200 people is 7,190 feet above sea level, making it the highest settlement in Europe (unless you include Amsterdam HA HA HA). It’s a tiny, tumbledown kind of place, but well worth the trip for the wall-to-wall views of the mighty Caucasus Mountains and the chance to hike or horse-ride to the Shkhara glacier.
Even if you find dirndl and lederhosen to be a questionable fashion statement, there’s no denying that the Bavarian Alps are surefire beauty. Thick fir forests, rural pastures, and the rugged mountains (of course) are what make this region so alluring. Also, the beer.
So it’s not exactly under the radar, but crowds be damned: It’s impossible not to fall in love with Santorini. Just look at it! As if the island’s natural beauty, multi-colored cliffs and deep-blue waters, wasn’t already dreamy enough, the characteristic Cycladic architecture is seriously spellbinding. Definitely one of the world's most romantic destinations.