Eastern Europe, known for its variety of different cultures, languages, and traditions, is one of the most visited yet also overlooked parts of the world. The historic region went through some rough times, from WWI to WWII, but it is generally now a much safer place to visit and travel to. On the contrary, Northern Europe is home to some of Europe’s best natural wonders, from fjords to geysers. Made up of the Norden countries, the area is also home to many of the world’s happiest cities. In this post, I am going to be writing about 13 cities or spots throughout both regions that I’d love to visit.
Disclaimer: All photos used in this post were found on the website Pixabay. The classifications of Northern Europe I based this post on revolve around the Nordic countries, and of Eastern Europe were defined as everything east of Germany.
Ranked as the happiest city in the world, Copenhagen is defined by its cobbled streets and bright homes found along the many canals that run throughout the city. Denmark’s capital is home to both the world’s oldest amusement park, Bakken; and the amusement park that served as the inspiration for Walt-Disney World, Tivoli Gardens. Other major attractions in Copenhagen include Nyhavn, a 17th century former port where you will find the “postcard photo” of Copenhagen; Amalienborg, the winter home of the Danish Royal Family; Christianborg Palace, home to the Danish parliament, prime minister, and Supreme Court; and the Copenhagen Botanical Gardens, a free to visit, 10 hectare large garden. I would love to get the chance to someday visit Copenhagen, as I think it is one of Europe’s prettiest cities!
Geiranger, a picture perfect Norwegian village, sits on the edge of one of Norway’s most well known fjords, Geirangerfjord. If you’re unfamiliar with fjords, they are basically long, slim basins surrounded by steep basins that were created by glacial erosion. Despite having a permanent population of only 250 people, Geiranger has recently been discovered by tourists and become one of the most visited fjord towns in the Nordic countries. I never been too interested in natural wonders, but after seeing photos of Geirangerfjord I would really love to visit.
There are so many places in Iceland that I’d love to visit, so instead of having to narrow it down to only one, I decided to write about the entire country as a whole. Starting off with the country’s capital and largest city, Reykjavík is one of the cleanest, safest, and happiest capitals in the world. Iceland is also home to the Blue Lagoon, a man-made geothermal spa; the Gullfoss, a stunning 32 metre tall waterfall; Skógafoss, another beautiful waterfall in south Iceland; and finally, Reynisdrangar, a black sand beach with basalt seastacks. Pretty much anywhere you go in Iceland is absolutely gorgeous, and it is the perfect destination for a photographer like me!
Stockholm, the liberal, trendy, expensive, and museum-filled capital of Sweden, is the most populated city in the Nordic countries. Surrounded by the Mälaren and Baltic Seas, this city is made up of 14 islands. Gamla Stan, or old town in English, is located on the island of Stadsholmen and it is the charming district where Stockholm began in the 1200s. Some of its other main attractions include the Vasa Museum, a museum displaying the only complete 17th century ship that has been salvaged; the Drottningholm Palace, home to the Swedish Royal family located on the island of Lovón; and Drottninggatan Street, the city’s main shopping street. Stockholm seems like a very entertaining and interesting city to me, and it is definitely a bucket list city to me.
Set on Lake Bled and surrounded by the Julian Alps, Bled is one of Europe’s most beautiful towns. The town’s Bled Castle, a medieval castle set atop a tall cliff, offers stunning views of the encompassing village. Bled is also home to Bled Island, a small island located in Lake Bled. Bled is definitely one of Europe’s best hidden gems, and I’d love to someday get the chance to visit and write about the town.
Bratislava, the Slovakian capital, is located on the Danube River and on the border of Austria and Hungary. Both the Bratislava Castle, the city’s main castle atop a hill; and the Devin Castle, ruins of the original castle also atop a hill are located within the city. The city’s Old Town is also a major attraction within Bratislava, being a picturesque neighbourhood making up most of the city. I feel like Bratislava is very overlooked by many tourists visiting Europe so I’d love to check out the city myself and hopefully be pleasantly surprised.
Also on the Danube River, Budapest is the capital of its country of Hungary. It was once two separate cities, Buda and Pest, separated by the river that were only joined together in 1873. In fact, they were so isolated from one another that the first bridge built over the river, the Chain Bridge, was built as late as 1849! A few of Budapest’s most well known spots include the Szechenyi Thermal Baths, the largest medicinal baths in Europe made up of 15 indoor and 3 outdoor baths; the Vajdahunyad Castle, a romantic castle from the 19th century; and Buda Castle, with a history dating back to the time of the Mongols. Being one of Europe’s most famous cities, I feel like it is a must visit spot and I would love to one day visit.
Česky Krumlov, Czech Republic
Nicknamed “mini Prague”, the Czech Republic’s Česky Krumlov is one of Europe’s prettiest fairytale towns. The town is bisected by the Vltava River, and it is defined by its castle that dates back to the 13th century. My family is planning to possibly visit Czechia, Austria, and Germany either this winter or sometime soon, and so I really hope that we get the chance to visit this beautiful village!
Despite its rocky history, from the Yugoslav War to World War 2, Croatia’s coastal city of Dubrovnik is now one of the most visited spots on the Mediterranean. The popular TV Show ‘Game of Thrones’ is partly filmed in Dubrovnik, which helped contribute to its popularity with tourists. The “Pearl of the Adriatic” is known for its Old Town, a district characterized by its narrow cobbled streets littered with stray cats, where you can find most of the city’s main attractions. Surrounding the city you will find its city walls, made up of over a 1000 steps, once built to protect the city from invaders back in the 1300s but now one of the top tourist spots due to its beautiful views of “King’s Landing” in ‘Game of Thrones’. Dubrovnik has only recently become one of my top bucket list cities, and now that I’ve discovered I can’t wait until the day I finally get to visit.
One of Europe’s best hidden gems, Kotor, Montenegro is a seaside town that has only recently been discovered by travellers. Located on the western coast of the Adriatic Sea, Kotor is similar, in a few ways, to Dubrovnik. Kotor is also surrounded by ancient city walls, also made up of over a 1000 steps that make for a great hike with beautiful views the whole way up. Its Old Town is also one of its biggest tourist attractions, with its tiled floors and even more stray kitties. If I’m being honest, I only heard about this city a few weeks ago after one of my favourite bloggers/youtubers visited it. After watching her vlog of her exploring the city, I decided that I had to someday visit the city.
Peles Castle, Romania
Often named as one of Europe’s best castles, Romania’s Peles Castle is a Neo-Renaissance castle located in Central Romania. Construction on this castle began after orders from the first Romanian king King Carol I, starting in 1873 and ending in 1914. Peles Castle can be found in Sinaia, which is also home to a few other historic buildings. The castle became a museum in 1953, with some of its best rooms being the Hall of Honour, the Royal Library, the Music Room, and the Theatre Hall. I think it’d be really interesting to tour this historic castle, and get the chance to see all of its beautiful rooms.
Prague, Czech Republic
Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, is bisected by the Vltava River. The remarkable city, with a history dating back to the 500s, is nicknamed the “City of a Hundred Spires” after its many churches. The Charles Bridge, an iconic pedestrian bridge is a monument of the city, along with the Old Town Square, also called the heart of the city. Other well known spots in the city include the Prague Castle, the residence of the President of Czechia; the Dancing House, a building with an interesting architectural design; St. Vitus Cathedral, a beautiful gothic cathedral; as well as the city’s many museums. As I mentioned earlier, my family may be visiting the Czech Republic soon and Prague will definitely be one of the cities we visit.
From its history to its architecture, Warsaw is one of the world’s most interesting cities. Capital of Poland, the city went through rough times after the second world war, but it is now very much restored. Its Old Town, rebuilt after World War II, is made up of buildings that look as if they’re 200 years old when they’re really only 70. The city is full of intriguing museums, from its Museum of the History of the Polish Jews to the Warsaw Rising Museum. I’ve never been anywhere near Poland, and I find Warsaw really interesting, so hopefully one day I get to visit the city!
That is it for my Europe section of Dream Destinations! I hope you enjoyed. Have you been to any of these cities? Leave me a comment down below letting me know.
Thanks for reading!