20. Stockholm, Sweden
During the 20th century Stockholm continued to flourish. The Postal Museum opened in 1906 and the Nordic Museum was built in 1907. The Museum of National Antiquities opened in 1943. Today tourism is an important industry in Stockholm. The Museum of Dance opened in 1953. The Medieval Museum opened in 1986. A ship called The Vasa sank in 1628 but it was recovered in 1961 and is now on display in a museum. Today the population of Stockholm is 942,000.
19. Copenhagen, Denmark
Tourism is a major contributor to Copenhagen's economy, attracting visitors due to the city's harbour, cultural attractions and award-winning restaurants. Since 2009, Copenhagen has been one of the fastest growing metropolitan destinations in Europe. Hotel capacity in the city is growing significantly. From 2009 to 2013, it experienced a 42% growth in international bed nights (total number of nights spent by tourists), tallying a rise of nearly 70% for Chinese visitors. The total number of bed nights in the Capital Region surpassed 9 million in 2013, while international bed nights reached 5 million.
18. Lisbon, Portugal
This laid-back Portuguese city welcomes travelers with its colorful architecture, centuries-old buildings and castles, picturesque beaches and flavorful seafood. Nestled on top of seven hills, this charming European locale is known for its friendly residents and rolling terrain. Lisbon is very walkable, but if you don't want to hike up and down the sloping streets, take advantage of the city's efficient public transportation system.
17. Bucharest, Romania
Bucharest, in southern Romania, is the country's capital and commercial center. Its iconic landmark is the massive, communist-era Palatul Parlamentului government building, which has 1,100 rooms. Nearby, the historic Lipscani district is home to an energetic nightlife scene as well as tiny Eastern Orthodox Stavropoleos Church and 15th-century Curtea Veche Palace, where Prince Vlad III (“The Impaler”) once ruled.
16. Istanbul, Turkey
Skyscrapers stand next to historical monuments in Istanbul, an ancient city that boasts modern advances. Shopaholics fill the city's Grand Bazaar during the day, while partygoers head to local nightclubs in droves at night. Foodies will likely love the exotic dining options around every corner. And don't forget to pack a few layers; travelers are required to cover up when visiting the extravagant Blue Mosque and other religious sites.
15. Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Edinburgh is best known for its hilly landscape, thick Scottish culture and abundance of historical sites. Stop into a neighborhood pub for fish and chips or – if you really want to feel like a local – a heaping portion of haggis. When your belly is full, wander around Arthur's Seat at the top of Holyrood Park for great views of the city below. Edinburgh Castle is another must-see, as is beautiful Calton Hill.
14. Berlin, Germany
More than two decades since the fall of the Berlin Wall, Germany's capital city boasts everything from museums and fashion to food and nightclubs. History buffs should check out the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, the Topography of Terror and the Checkpoint Charlie Museum, while art enthusiasts will likely love visiting Museum Island, which is a cluster of five different museums.
13. Dublin, Ireland
Dublin is the most populous city in Ireland and has long been a popular vacation spot for beer drinkers and history buffs. Home to the Guinness headquarters and the Jameson Distillery, the city also boasts a plethora of pubs. Meanwhile, non-drinkers will want to head to the boutiques along Grafton Street and check out kid-friendly areas like the sprawling St. Stephen's Green and the Dublin Zoo.
12. Budapest, Hungary
The capital of Hungary is filled with an assortment of monuments, museums and religious sites. Visit Fisherman's Bastion – a neo-Gothic, fairy-tale structure – to admire its architectural beauty and take in panoramic views of the city from the building's terrace. No stay in the City of Spas would be complete without checking out its world-renowned thermal baths, which are heated by natural thermal springs.
11. Ljubljana, Slovenia
Ljubljana is Slovenia's capital and largest city. It's known for its university population and green spaces, including expansive Tivoli Park. The curving Ljubljanica River, lined in outdoor cafes, divides the city's old town from its commercial hub. Ljubljana has many museums, including the National Museum of Slovenia, displaying historic exhibitions, and the Museum of Modern Art, home to 20th-century Slovene paintings and sculptures.
10. Athens, Greece
Athens was made for history buffs and architecture aficionados, but it also serves as a great European getaway for the everyday travel guru. The capital's laid-back lifestyle and incredible food attract the masses just as much as the world-class Acropolis and Parthenon do. As you tour around, be sure to stroll through the historical neighborhood of Plaka, where you'll find restaurants, cafes and charming shops.
9. Swiss Alps, Switzerland
Located south of Zurich, Bern and Basel, the Swiss Alps are a haven for winter sports enthusiasts. While skiing, hiking and snowboarding tend to dominate this region, you'll also discover quaint towns, serene lakes and gorgeous scenery. Luxury mountain resorts are available throughout the region as well, making it a playground for all sorts of travelers. Additionally, no trip to the Swiss Alps would be complete without indulging in some warm, gooey cheese fondue.
8. Vienna, Austria
This storied Austrian city is best known for its music and monarchs. Explore the Habsburg family's Schönbrunn Palace and stop into the House of Music museum while strolling through the Innere Stadt (Inner City). Art lovers should head to the MuseumsQuartier Wien to tour the Museum of Modern Art, while opera fans will likely enjoy touring or watching a performance at the Vienna State Opera.
7. Prague, Czechia
A vacation in Prague will leave you feeling as if you've stepped into a fairy tale. Take in the Gothic architecture and vibrant atmosphere of Old Town Square, and be sure to tour Prague Castle (and the other attractions on its grounds, including St. Vitus Cathedral and the Royal Palace). Prague's affordability compared to other captivating destinations in Europe makes it a great place for travelers on a budget.
6. Florence, Italy
Travel to Firenze for an authentic taste of Italy. Florence boasts top-notch museums, quaint hotels, stunning architecture and mouthwatering cuisine. Must-dos include admiring Michelangelo's David at the Galleria dell'Accademia, taking in city and river views from the Ponte Vecchio and climbing to the top of the Duomo – Florence's most recognizable attraction. When hunger strikes, head to the Mercato Centrale Firenze to stock up on fresh meats and cheeses or sit down for pizza or gelato.
5. Barcelona, Spain
Barcelona's diverse architecture sets the city apart from other European destinations. Gaudí's Park Güell and La Sagrada Familia are beyond impressive, as are Catedral de Barcelona (also known as La Seu), Montjuïc Castle and the many medieval buildings in the Gothic Quarter. When you tire of taking in the city's stunning architecture, relax on La Barceloneta beach, eat local food (tapas) or sip sangria along Las Ramblas.
4. Amsterdam, Netherlands
There's more to Amsterdam than its notorious "coffee shops" and Red Light District. Spend the day biking through the city's stylish streets before exploring noteworthy museums, such as the Van Gogh Museum, Verzetsmuseum or the Anne Frank House. Plan a picnic in Vondelpark for lunch, or opt for a boat tour along the city's many canals when it's time to rest your feet. Friendly locals and affordable hotels keep bringing travelers back, especially during the warmer months.
3. London, United Kingdom
Exploring the world-class British Museum, seeing a musical in the West End, touring the Tower of London and gorging on fish and chips at a local pub are all part of the London bucket list experience. However, London's high hotel prices can make budget travelers cringe. To save some money, book your accommodations far in advance or consider a vacation rental.
2. Paris, France
Paris is filled with highly regarded museums, monuments and churches. You could easily spend your entire vacation admiring iconic sights like the Eiffel Tower and wandering through exhibits at the Louvre. Still, you should save some time for people-watching and munching on fresh croissants at sidewalk cafes during the day. Once the sun sets, sit down for a drawn-out meal with amazing wine.
1. Rome, Italy
Roma is a can't-miss spot on your trip to Europe. The aroma of fresh Italian cooking wafts through the alleys, and historical sites stand proudly at every turn. No visit to Italy's capital would be complete without checking out the Colosseum, St. Peter's Basilica, the Sistine Chapel and the awe-inspiring Trevi Fountain. If you have additional time, venture beyond the main sights to the Roman Forum, Trastevere and the Spanish Steps.