Europe is full of exceptional experiences that feel historic and timeless, and the top 10 things to do on the continent allow travelers to experience the ancient world, culinary culture, best attractions, and more.
From artisan crafts to ancient ruins, diverse cuisine to fascinating architecture, you can celebrate the gorgeous landscapes, vibrant cultures, and preserved traditions of Europe’s most iconic cities and hidden towns.
Whether with contemporary chic or antique ambiance, the countries of Europe reveal limitless possibilities that stretch from the Mediterranean Sea to northern fjords, and the following will guide you to some of the essential things to do.
As a whole, Europe exudes culture that comes from millennia of collective heritage and independent national evolution, represented by ancient sites and landmarks.
From prehistoric artwork to Roman mosaics, the continent celebrates its heritage and brings history to life on a timeline dating back over 5,000 years. Europe’s points of interest for history buffs reveal the stories and legends that trace back to the ancient world, and senior tours of Europe are a perfect way to experience it all.
You can easily see preserved Moorish palaces, shimmering Azulejo tiles, and striking Greek statues that collectively highlight Europe’s diversity, with surprising treasures that unveil quintessential artifacts.
Best Places for Ancient History: Greece • Italy • England • Norway • Turkey • Spain
Europe represents the marvelous differences between countries and even the unique varieties of food between regions that shifts across borders and is best enjoyed on regional food tours.
Europe has embraced its past, with many nations celebrating their culinary roots and looking towards a vibrant gastronomic future shaped by climates and topography that support different ingredients.
From spice blends to traditional curing methods, love affairs with butter to a fusion of culturally-connected ingredients, there is always something for food lovers or those merely sampling the heritage.
Best Places for Food: Italy • France • Spain • Germany • Denmark
Learn more: Europe Food & Wine Tours & Vacations
Visiting a castle in Europe is like diving into history and uncovering the life of kings, queens, vendettas, and hidden alliances.
Castles and palaces are alluring for their fantastical features and an atmosphere we automatically equate with fairytales and storybooks. They speak of grandeur and war, artistic representation of the times, and dynamic cities once protected by the greater power of the stronghold.
From the UK’s best castles to Portugal’s stunning fortresses, Europe offers access to the quintessential image of a historic castle and surprising visions of opulent palaces for contrasting glimpses of regional history.
Best Places for Castles or Palaces: United Kingdom • Ireland • Germany • Spain • France • Portugal
Europe’s viticultural history is unparalleled and captures tradition, celebration, and diversity.
A trip designed to explore its wines can take you from north to south, east to west, finding an endless variety of grapes and distinctive production methods. The diversity of the wines across Europe reveals a completely different culture and heritage at every stop.
Whether planning an Italy food and wine tour or a visit to one of France’s famous wine regions, you can experience the ingenuity and integrities of different wine-growing regions as you explore Europe’s top places for food and wine.
Best Places for Wine: France • Italy • Spain • Croatia • Germany • Portugal
Learn more: Europe Food & Wine Tours & Vacations
The creative craft market as a whole in Europe explores tradition and focuses on the basic impulse to do single-skilled work beautifully, which you can appreciate on artisan tours.
Artisan crafts combine detailed beauty with the importance of a cultural connection that furthers a legacy. Refined traditions and the pursuit of authentic artistry are rooted in the fundamentals of a city, town, or country, showcasing traditions cultivated by skilled artists. This gives you insight into the depths of items, from handmade paper or cuckoo clocks to decorative tiles or elegant carpets.
From hand-making pasta in Italy to watching medieval armor being crafted in Spain, enjoy amazing artisan experiences on your Europe bucket-list trip.
Best Places for Artisan Tours: Portugal • Italy • Germany • Spain • Turkey • Switzerland
Europe has some of the world’s premier art museums, giving you access to millennia of history and masters of global artwork.
An art museum or gallery can be a trip highlight and provide unique perspectives on famous pieces or distinctive cultures. Europe’s museums tell stories with a wide range of narratives that can share the history of Renaissance art or offer a timeline of the Mediterranean, reveal unique Moorish designs or show a different side of war history.
Each museum provides a glimpse into the broader culture of a country and you can visit the best European cities for art lovers for a clearer picture of the emblematic art heritage.
Best Places for Art Museums: England • Spain • France • Netherlands • Italy • Germany
Europe has some of the best and most pristine ski destinations, as breathtaking scenery blends with access to exceptional cultural heritage.
Skiing is not just a pastime in Europe, but a lifestyle that complements the gorgeous scenery with a diverse range of skiing types and options for all capabilities. Exploring the best places in France for winter, the Italian Alps, and beyond, skiing is often at the heart of a trip during the cold European travel season.
Furthermore, centuries-old alpine towns offer endless winter activities, with exceptional frozen and ice-covered terrain for a mixture of modern convenience and old-world glamour.
Best Places for Skiing: Switzerland • Austria • France • Italy • Norway
Learn more: Winter Vacation Ideas
Opera in Europe is not just a musical force, but a culture. Passionate spectators match the enthusiasm of the performers, emphasized by the dazzling designs of some of the world’s most iconic theaters.
Opera and opera houses are intertwined as European cultural institutions seemingly blending the style and traditions of specific countries intertwined with iconic performances or experimentation.
With capitals of classical music and authentic reflection of musical heritage, Europe defines opera as an art and has made it accessible to everyone.
Best Places for Opera: Germany • Italy • Austria • France • Poland
The culinary impact of Europe on the world shines, with cultural heritage known worldwide through food, and a European cooking class can focus on one dish or a series of recipes that highlight extraordinary aromas, presentation, and taste.
Learning to create typical dishes immerses you in the hidden history of a place by revealing ingredients, age-old recipes, and delicious flavors.
Whether exploring the best places in Spain for food or discovering the top culinary destinations of Emilia-Romagna in Italy, there are few better ways to experience the cuisine than making it yourself.
Best Places for Cooking Classes: Spain • Italy • France • Germany • Sweden • Greece • Switzerland
Europe has spectacular hiking in countries with historic pathways and trekking spanning vast reaches of the 10 major mountain ranges.
The marvelous scenery and collection of trails around Europe are easily accessed for iconic, dramatic, and unforgettable experiences. Fjords, alpine peaks, stunning woodlands, and open plains create diverse landscapes spanning dynamic countries for memorable hikes.
Whether a challenging route, breathtaking terrain, or a thrilling panoramic view, Europe offers epic hiking trails for every type of hiker.
Best Places for Hiking: Norway • Portugal • Spain • Scotland • Italy • Austria • Switzerland
Learn more: 7 Best Places to Hike in Europe
Europe can be a romantic exploration or an adventurous excursion, a relaxing cultural immersion or a perfect beach destination. Find ancient ruins. Explore Michelin-starred mastery. Delight in the outdoors on ancient trails. From cycling to cooking, wine tasting to visiting museum galleries, Europe is timeless, captivating, and easily tailored to your preferences on Europe tours and vacations.