Europe Bucket List Adventures

25+ Epic Adventures to Add to Your Europe Bucket List

If you’ve been itching to travel again, so have we! Dreaming of incredible trips to take in Europe, we started adding the coolest things to our Europe bucket list that we want to share with you. The best part is that these are true European adventures, not just places to see. We can’t wait for you to get your travel on with these incredible things to do in Europe.

Instead of making a list of the best places we knew about, we reached out to the people that have scoured every nook and cranny in Europe. Our favorite travel bloggers gave us their absolute favorite, once in a lifetime trips. You’ll find tips and tricks along with the best places to stay for these adventures of a lifetime.

Cappadocia-Balloons

1. Hot Air Ballooning in Cappadocia, Turkey

Hot air ballooning is always a bucket list experience but flying over otherworldly landscapes in Eastern Europe takes it to another level. This incredible escapade starts with a wake up call at your cave hotel in the middle of the night. As you get dressed and head down to the car, it’s still shocking to see 3:30am on the clock.

The drive to the balloons is mostly quiet and the provided breakfast is uneaten. Then the adventure begins. Massive balloons are laying on the ground as if they are trying to wake up too. There’s a hustle and bustle of men busily inflating them and a simmering excitement emanating from the participants.

Everyone is ushered into balloons that surprisingly hold 20 very enthusiastic people. Before you know it, the balloon is lifting into the air and flying with 200 other balloons as a faint edge of light starts to become visible on the horizon.

The surreal rock valleys below light up with the magnificence of the rising sun. It’s definitely a pinch me moment if ever there was one. Once back on the ground a champagne toast is so fitting even though it’s not yet 7am. Cappadocia hot air ballooning is a highlight of a magnificent trip to Turkey.

WHERE TO STAY: Carus Cappadocia (9.5) or Museum Hotel (9.0)

RELATED POST: A BUCKET LIST 7 DAY TURKEY ITINERARY

Finland Dog Sledding Europe Bucket List

2. Winter in Arctic Finland is a the Top of Our Europe Bucket List

Recommended by Suzanne from Meandering Wild

Visiting the Arctic Circle is a magical once in a lifetime journey.  One of the more accessible Arctic regions is around Ruka in the northeast of Finland. Ruka is within the Arctic Circle and during the winter months, short days with continuous sunrise and sunset and dark nights make for one of the most unique experiences in Europe – a must add to your bucket list.

Close to Ruka is Riisitunturi National Park which is a combination of dense woodland and high fells. The trees are coated in heavy snow during the winter months and take on a unique appearance called tykky. 

Immerse yourself in the full beauty of the high fells by taking a trip with the local dog sledging team. These beautiful dogs are loved by their owners and enjoy running on the high fells. Short trips take you around the lower slopes but an extended trip will allow you to encounter more remote landscapes.

Arctic Finland is also one of the best places to see the northern lights. Closer to Ruka, you can stay overnight in a glass igloo to see the magical light display right from the comfort of your bed. Ruka is also a popular skiing destination for both downhill and miles of cross country trails.

WHERE TO STAY: Villa Konttaisenranta (9.5), Iisakki Glass Village (9.0) or Magical Pond Nature Igloos (8.8)

RELATED POST: BEST PLACES TO TRAVEL IN FEBRUARY

Lavender Field Provence Europe Bucket List

3. Lavender Fields in the South of France

Recommended by Elisa from France Bucket List

In summer, the lavender fields of Provence, in Southern France, are one of the top destinations to visit in Europe. The views of the blue- violet fields are amazing, plus they smell so good! 

There are many areas with lavender fields in Provence, and the blooming period depends on the altitude and the weather conditions during the previous months. However, it is safe to say that you can see lavender in Provence between mid-June to mid-August.

In addition to the lavender fields, you may want to visit a museum dedicated to lavender (there are different museums of this type in the area) to know the history of lavender growing and its use and buy some unique lavender-based gifts. 

For a unique trip to Provence, combine the lavender fields with a visit to some villages nearby. Ideally, you have a car, and you explore these places on a road trip. However, there are also some guided tours from Avignon or Aix-en-Provence that cover the lavender fields.

Avignon is a great place to base yourself to explore the lavender fields in the Luberon. The city itself is beautiful to visit, with the Palace of the Popes and a medieval center listed as a UNESCO Heritage Site.

WHERE TO STAY: Airelles, La Bastide de Gordes (9.5) or Coquillade Provence Resort & Spa (9.3)

RELATED POST: 17 MOST BEAUTIFUL CITIES IN FRANCE

Norway Preikestolen Europe Bucket List

4. Hiking the Preikestolen in Norway

Recommended by Raksha from Solo Passport

Preikestolen, also known as The Pulpit Rock, is a famous tourist attraction and an iconic landmark in Norway. It is a steep cliff with a height of almost 2,000 feet. This is one of the most adventurous European bucket list areas.

Located in Stavanger, the cliff atop Prekestolen provides stunning views of the fjord Lysefjorden and the valleys of Ryfylke region. It is believed that the cliff was formed during the ice age about 10,000 years ago. The cliff is one of the most photographed cliffs in Norway.

The best way to get to the Preikestolen is to hike from Preikestolhytta. To reach Preikestolhytta, take a ferry from Stavanger to Tau and then a bus from Tau to Preikestolhytta. You can stay at Stavanger city and visit Preikestolen as part of a one day trip.

The hike is around 2 miles and it takes about 2 to 3 hours. It is a hard hike with certain sections that are steep. The entire trail is made up of beautiful views of the fjords and small lakes.

The best time to visit Preikestolen is between April and September. The weather is pleasant and the conditions are perfect for the hike. During winter, the trail is dangerous as it can be slippery and wet due to the snow and ice.

WHERE TO STAY: Scandic Royal Stavanger (8.1)  or Thon Hotel Stavanger (9.1)

Silfra Fissure Snorkeling Europe Bucket List

5. Snorkeling Between Tectonic Plates at the Sifra Fissure in Iceland

Recommended by Victoria of Iceland Trippers

Snorkeling the Silfra Fissure in Iceland should top your European Bucket List! It is something that everyone should do in their lifetime! The water is crystal clear and you are snorkeling or scuba diving between the tectonic plates of North America and Europe. Imagine actually being in the crack between continents.

Depending on your ability level, you can choose to float on the top of the water and snorkel. If you are certified, you can actually dive 60 feet down to explore the crack! There are many tours in Iceland that can take you to the Silfra Fissure, and you must take one, you cannot just go swimming alone.

The best part about a tour is that they provide the gear you will need. You will be wearing a drysuit with warm thermals layered underneath, ensuring minimal exposure to the freezing cold water. It’s between 34-39F or 2-4C. Summer is the best time for this expedition as the weather is most hospitable.

Once you are done diving, head back to Reykjavik and warm up with a cup of something warm and delicious! 

WHERE TO STAY: Alda Hotel (9.0) or Ion City Hotel (8.8)

RELATED POST: 7 DAY ICELAND RING ROAD ITINERARY

Meteora Monastery Greece Europe Bucket List

6. Climbing to the Meteora Monestaries in Greece

Recommended by Haley of Haley Blackall Travels

Perched and suspended around 2,000 feet on tall steep rocks are the monasteries of Meteora. Located as a beautiful backdrop to the small town of Kalabaka in central Greece, these Greek Orthodox buildings showcase some of the best views in the world, while being a part of the views themselves.

Of Byzantine design, the six active monasteries today house beautiful artifacts and wall paintings and hold residence to a small number of monks and nuns. Meteora was included in the list of UNESCO world heritage sites in 1988.

If adventure is the name of the game, start at the bottom of the ascension to the Holy Trinity Monastery of Meteora. The trail will take you 45-60 minutes to climb with a stop or two to look at the views. Once you’ve reached the monastery, climb the stairs for some of the best sweeping landscapes on earth.

Next, make your way along the road to the Monastery of Varlaam. View the treasures inside then head towards The Great Meteoran Holy Monastery for the most epic panorama of Varlaam. It’s a true hidden gem and bound to be one of your favourite spots of the trek.

After visiting inside The Great Meteoran Holy Monastery make your way back down through the countryside to Kalabaka. The entire hike should take you 6-7 hours and requires a moderate fitness level.

WHERE TO STAY: Meteora Hotel at Kastraki (8.6)

Benagil Cave Portugal Europe Bucket List

7. Exploring the Benagil Sea Cave, Portugal

Recommended by Claire from Tales of a Backpacker

Benagil Sea Cave is one of the most beautiful sea caves in the world, and should be on any European bucket list!  The cave is close to the fishing village of Benagil on the Algarve in southern Portugal. It’s almost a perfect dome, with a hole at the top which lets sunlight stream in.

Accessed only by water, the cave is large enough to explore by boat, and there are many tour companies that offer Benagil Cave tours taking in the spectacular Algarve coastline along the way.  While Benagil Cave is the icing on the cake, the beaches, hidden coves and caverns all along the coast are well worth seeing.

To stand on the small beach inside the cave, you’ll need to take a kayak or SUP tour. They include more time inside the cave – tide and weather permitting.  At low tide, you might be tempted to try swimming to the cave. With all the boat tours it gets very busy in the water so it can be dangerous. It’s better to stick to the organized tours.

Tours leave from various spots all along the coast, including Lagos, Portimão and Albufeira as well as Benagil itself. 

WHERE TO STAY: Vila Vita Parc Resort & Spa (9.5) or Tivoli Carvoeiro (8.9)

RELATED POSTS: 2 DAYS IN LISBON & 2 DAYS IN PORTO

Dracula Castle Transylvania Europe Bucket List

8. A Transylvanian Road Trip to Dracula’s Castle

Recommended by Yaren & Antoine from Bug in Our Bag

Transfăgărășan Road in Romania, named one of the most beautiful roads in Europe. It’s perfect for a Transylvanian road trip to medieval cities and gothic castles and probably new for your European bucket list.

Starting in Cluj-Napoca, you’ll find quaint colorful buildings with shops and bars, the National Art Museum and stunning Saint Michael’s Church as a centerpiece of the historic center square. You might even catch a music festival if you’re lucky. This creative city is definitely worth a few days before you set off on your journey.

The first stop is Sibiu, a historic medieval town with eyed window buildings that look like they are watching you! You can easily see Sibiu in a day. Don’t miss the Evangelical Cathedral and Holy Trinity Cathedral. Piata Mare is a great spot for people watching and enjoying a delicious Romanian meal.

Next up, the city of Brasov is like an open-air museum. The gothic Black Church, busy town square, Piata Sfatului, and Strada Sforii, the narrowest street in Europe, provide an interesting view of this city.

The star attraction, Dracula’s Castle is an hour away in Bran. A Transylvania day tour. is an easy way to see Brasov, Dracula’s castle and other, even more beautiful castles in the area.

WHERE TO STAY: SCHUSTER Boarding House (9.7), Antler Boutique Hotel (9.4) or Hotel Platinia (9.6)

St Petersburg Russia

9. White Nights in St Petersburg, Russia

Recommended by De Wet & Jin from Museum of Wander

Saint Petersburg, the cultural capital of Russia, is among the most beautiful cities in Europe. With world-class museums, gilded palaces and cathedrals, tons of historical sights and vibrant cultural events.

To see the city at its most dashing, visit during the White Nights. Saint Petersburg never really gets dark during the White Nights (usually between June 11th and July 2nd), and it’s a surreal and beautiful time to be in the city.

During the (regular) day, you should visit the incredible Hermitage Museum. It’s one of the best museums in the world, and you can spend days there if you wish. The Kazan and St Isaacs cathedrals and The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood are all breathtaking too. 

At night, while it’s still light, stroll along the Neva River to enjoy the city in the endless blue hour and see the drawbridges open. A cruise along the canals is beautiful at any time, but even more so during the White Nights.

The city’s best view can be seen from the Petrograd side, along the embankment at the Peter and Paul fortress. There is a small beach here. Seeing Peterburgers taking a leisurely swim in the Neva after midnight is all part of this European bucket list experience.

WHERE TO STAY: Boutique Hotel The Gamma (9.3) or SO/ Saint Petersburg (9.0)

Lake Bled Slovenia

10. Taking a Pletna to Lake Bled Island, Slovenia

Recommended by Megan from Red Around the World

Lake Bled by the town of Bled is one of the prettiest spots in Europe. Part of what makes it so charming is the picturesque, Bled Island in the middle of the turquoise lake. It’s the only naturally occurring island in Slovenia and totally worth visiting. 

Getting to the island is half the fun. You can take a ride on a Pletna, one of the beautiful boats that will transport you across the lake. Or rent a rowboat, and get a little exercise on the 15 minute paddle to the island. 

On the island, climb the stairs up to the Pilgrimage Church of the Assumption of Mary which is beautiful from afar and wonderful up close. Make a wish and ring the Wishing Bell at the top to make it come true. Then enjoy the amazing views of the town and Blejski Grad. There is also a small cafe and gift shop on the island. 

To fully enjoy the area, make sure to visit Lake Bled Castle. Built on a high rocky cliff overlooking the lake, the views are fantastic. They also have an enjoyable wine tasting. Also nearby and a great addition to your trip is Vintgar Gorge, a stunning walk along the Radovna River.

WHERE TO STAY: Adora Luxury Hotel (9.4) or Hotel Park Sava Hotels (8.8)

Vienna Christmas Market

11. Shopping the Christmas Markets of Vienna, Austria

Recommended by Nadine from Le Long Weekend

A visit to the Vienna Christmas Markets is a dream come true for anyone who loves the magic of the advent season. Epitomising everything there is to love about European Christmas markets, the Viennese events have it all.

You’ll find stunning settings, cute wooden huts, steaming mugs of mulled wine, sweet treats, and handmade trinkets. Seemingly every square, palace and garden is transformed into a festive fairytale come December, and the whole city emanates good cheer.

Unmissable places to visit include the Schönbrunn Christmas Market with its traditional live music performances and more upmarket feel. The Viennese Xmas Dream, the largest market in the city, has lots of activities like ice skating, rides, and children’s workshops. The Karlsplatz Christmas Market is the best place to get one-of-a-kind handmade souvenirs.

Fuel your adventures by filling up on krapfen (donuts), punsch, and the traditional soup in bread. When visiting, be sure to dress warmly, as the temperature drops dramatically when the sun sinks. Comfortable shoes are also a necessity so you can hop comfortably between markets.

Late November/early December is the ideal time to visit, before the markets get too busy.

WHERE TO STAY: Park Hyatt Vienna (9.3) or SO Vienna (8.9)

RELATED POST: 5 MAGICAL ALSACE CHRISTMAS MARKETS IN FRANCE

Croatia Plitvice Lakes National Park

12. Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia

Recommended by Christine Rogador from Guide To Day Trips

Plitvice Lakes is often cited as one of the most beautiful national parks and lakes in the world. Located just 2 hours from Zagreb, it can be visited on a day trip from the capital or a few days as part of a Croatia road trip.

Plitvice, Croatia’s largest national park, is a 115 square mile nature reserve. It’s known for its beautiful 16 terrace turquoise lakes and amazing falls that are interconnected. Surrounding these lakes is a massive expanse of forested hills creating one of the most magical sceneries in Europe.

Start your visit at Station 3 where the famous shots of Plitvice lakes are taken from above. It’s definitely the best viewpoint. Then work your way to Station 2 and 1 where you can explore smaller falls and lakes up close by meandering along the wooden pathways. Spend at least 4 hours here to fully enjoy the place. 

Swimming is prohibited in this UNESCO Heritage site to protect the lakes and the ecosystem. There is an electric boat that allows you to cross the lake. Mostly though, Plitvice is meant to be explored on foot. Enjoy the best nature has to offer.

WHERE TO STAY: Plitvice Hotel Degenija (9.4) or B&B Plitvice Area Natura (9.7)

VISIT: 3 DAYS IN DUBROVNIK & CROATIA ISLAND HOPPING

York-city

13. The Historic City of York, England

Recommended by Cristina of My Little World of Travelling

York, located in the north of England, is one of the most beautiful cities in the UK. The city has many things to offer – from visiting historical buildings and interesting museums to having an afternoon tea at the popular Betty’s tea room.

A bucket list free activity in York is walking the historic city walls. These Roman walls are one of the most well-preserved walls in England. They are connected by four gatehouses that were defensive positions in times of war. 

As you walk the York City Walls, you will have incredible views of the city including York Minster Cathedral. Make sure to visit the interior to admire its detailed Gothic architecture and big stained glass windows.

Walking through The Shambles, a medieval street with half-timbered buildings and quirky shops, well-known by Harry Potter fans is another point of interest. If you love discovering hidden gems, then you must visit Museum Gardens, a beautiful garden that also has a museum and the ruins of St Mary’s Abbey.

The best time to visit York is early in the morning or evening, especially for those who love taking photos. The city isn’t very big, but it does get crowded.  

WHERE TO STAY: Principal York (8.0), Jorvik House (8.9) or Moxy York (8.5)

RELATED POST: TAKE A BUCKET LIST ROWING VACATION

Paphos Cyprus

14. Ancient Treasures and Beaches of Cyprus

Recommended by Alice from Adventures of Alice

Cyprus is a beautiful island located in the eastern Mediterranean Sea and is an extremely popular place to visit in Europe. It also happens to be one of the oldest human settlements in the world with many ancient treasures.

There are many wonderful things to do in Cyprus, but one of the most spectacular attractions is the Tomb of the Kings, a UNESCO Heritage Site set on the coast with beautiful views. This ancient cemetery contains elaborate tombs of aristocrats dating back to the 4th century BC.

Another treasure is the Kato Paphos Archaeological Park, known for its well preserved ancient mosaics. Additionally, Paphos castle, a fortress overlooking the bay with an intriguing history, is well worth a visit. It’s located at the Paphos harbor where you can stop at one of the many cafes or bars.

After enjoying historical gems, beach goers will love Coral Beach with crystal clear water, that’s the perfect place to relax. For a day trip, a cruise to the Blue Lagoon is popular choice, while divers flock to the Zenobia Shipwreck, one of the top 10 dive sites in the world. The unique island of Cyprus has it all.

WHERE TO STAY: Elysium (9.4) or The Ivi Mare (9.3)

RELATED POST: 3 DAYS IN MALTA ITINERARY

Prague Beer Spa

15. Luxuriating in a Prague Beer Spa, Czechoslovakia

Recommended by Jessica from Uprooted Traveler

Have you ever dreamed of soaking in a tub of warm, hoppy beer? Well, even if that’s not the case, you can have just that experience, all while drinking unlimited beer. Prague is the unofficial beer capital of the world, where beer is literally cheaper than water!

A beer spa offers a secluded, cave-like environment. You (and a few friends, if you so choose) will be able to soak in a bubbling 1,000 liter spa with brewer’s yeast, hops, and malt. The combination eases muscle tension, increases metabolism, and softens skin, while providing a myriad of other health benefits.

You’ll also get access to two taps of delicious Czech beer, like a pilsner or a lager, which you can pour for yourself as you luxuriate in the tub. After you’re done soaking, fill your belly with homemade beer bread and relax on a bed of hay near a warm, crackling fire.

Pack a swimsuit if you’re headed to the spa with friends you’re not comfortable being naked around. Your group will be provided a private room, but each tub is generally shared between two or so beer lovers.

The Original Beer Spa or the Prague Beer Spa Bernard are both conveniently located right by the Old Town Square. They are great choices for a beer spa to try out during your adventures around Prague.

WHERE TO STAY: Boho Prague Hotel (9.5) or Hotel Cube Prague (9.6)

RELATED POST: WORLD TRAVEL CHALLENGE

Georgia Military Highway

16. Georgian Military Highway From Tbilisi to Russia

Recommended by Ellis from Backpack Adventures

The Georgian Military Highway is the one road that connects Tbilisi in Georgia with Russia. It also happens to be a spectacular European road trip.

In one day, you travel just over 200 kilometers from Georgia’s capital Tbilisi to the town of Kazbegi at the foot of Mount Kazbek. On the way there are ancient churches, monasteries, lakes and beautiful mountain views all around you. 

The Caucasus mountain range is home to some of the highest mountains in Europe. Mount Kazbek is just over 5,000 meters high and is an impressive sight once you reach Kazbegi.

One of the first worthwhile stops is the ancient Ananuri fortress overlooking the deep blue turquoise waters of the Zhinvali lake. Another popular stop is the Georgian Russian Friendship monument. Besides beautiful Soviet mosaics this is one of the most spectacular viewpoints.

For most people, Kazbegi is the last stop on this road trip. Not far from Kazbegi is the Russian border where the road continues all the way to Vladikavkaz.

Kazbegi itself is another bucket list destination for those that love mountains and the outdoors. There are plenty of hiking trails to choose from and of course you can not miss the Gergeti Trinity church. One of the most picturesque sights of Georgia.  

WHERE TO STAY: Rooms Hotel Kazbegi (9.0) or Stamba Hotel (8.9)

Neuschwanstein Europe Bucket List

17. Visiting Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, Germany

Recommended by Daniel and Ilona from Top Travel Sights

Neuschwanstein Castle in Southern Germany should be on everyone’s Europe bucket list. Walt Disney used the building as inspiration for the Sleeping Beauty castle, but the original castle is even more magical than the one in the movies.

One of the must-do’s when visiting is to see the inside of the castle and learn about King Ludwig II, who commissioned the building. Make sure to book your ticket at least a few weeks in advance, as they tend to sell out early.

For the best pictures, head to St Mary’s bridge. From here, you have a fantastic view of the castle. You can get even better shots if you cross the bridge and follow the hiking path up the mountain.

When visiting Neuschwanstein Castle, you should also explore Hohenschwangau, the town at the bottom of the mountain. Here, you can find Hohenschwangau Castle, where King Ludwig II spent his childhood summers and got inspired for his future home.

Another place worth visiting nearby is Füssen. This cute German town is perfect if you want to see traditional buildings or try local food from the area.

To make your bucket list jaunt perfect, don’t forget to go for a hike in the Alps behind Neuschwanstein Castle. Hiking around Lake Alpsee rewards you with fantastic mountain views. Or you could explore a more challenging trail that takes you up into the mountains.

WHERE TO STAY: AMERON Neuschwanstein Alpsee Resort & Spa (8.8), Hotel Das Rübezahl (9.0) or Hotel Sommer (8.6)

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3 Days in Santorini Fira View

18. Island Hopping the Cyclades in Greece

Recommended by Martha from May Cause Wanderlust

All of Greece is lovely, but the Greek islands are truly something special. Scattered across the eastern Mediterranean like rocky jewels, they are captivating and magical. Island hopping in the Cyclades allows you to sample a variety of these stunning islands, combined with sailing time on the gorgeous ocean. 

Many of the islands are volcanic in origin, including the stunning Santorini, where you can watch the sun set over a stunning caldera. Some have lovely beaches, like Kythnos with its golden sand bar, or cliffs you can jump off of in Milos.

The glamour and party vibes on Mykonos is quite lively, while some of the quieter islands like Folegandros in the Cyclades or Antipaxos in the Ionian sea are perfectly peaceful.

From one island to the next, you’ll find gorgeous traditional villages with colourful bougainvillea and picturesque white-washed Greek churches. Another treat is amazing greek food.

Choosing to stay on a boat in the Greek islands allows you to have a unique voyage without constantly changing hotels. Stay in Athens before or after, to see historic sites like the Acropolis and Temple of Olympian Zeus or enjoy restaurants, shopping and rooftop bars in bustling Monastiraki Square.

WHERE TO STAY: COCO-MAT Athens Jumelle (9.3) or The Modernist Athens (9.4)

RELATED POST: BEST 3 DAYS IN SANTORINI ITINERARY

Iceland Glacier Hike – Pocket Wanderings

19. Sunset Glacier Hike in Iceland

Recommended by Jessie of Pocket Wanderings

There’s no better place to see stunning natural beauty and mystical snow-covered landscapes than Iceland. In the Nordic land of Ice and Fire, you can see breathtaking scenery from fields of lava rock and hot springs to towering glaciers and snow-peaked mountains. 

If you visit Iceland in November, you’ll be blown away by the beautiful golden lighting all day long and the plethora of unforgettable sunsets. There’s no shortage of things to see and do in Iceland, but at the top of your list should be a sunset glacier hike. Experience the surreal feeling of being able to walk on ice and be greeted with some truly stunning views for your hard work. 

The Vatnajökull National Park is the largest in Iceland and a must-see for anyone wanting to explore Iceland’s striking natural features. Take an unforgettable glacier hiking tour of the impressive Skaftafellsjökull glacier tongue, which leads off from Iceland’s largest ice cap.

There are also other amazing activities on offer in the park, including an awe-inspiring boat tour of the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, or the concealed volcanoes which are some of the most active in the country. 

WHERE TO STAY: Hotel Skaftafell (8.2) or Fosshotel Glacier Lagoon (8.8) 

RELATED POST: THE 15 BEST ICELAND WATERFALLS

Switzerland Train Trips Europe Bucket List

20. Riding the Rails Through Switzerland

Recommended by Alyse from The Invisible Tourist

When thinking about Europe bucket list experiences, few are as breathtaking as scenic trains in Switzerland. Sit back and relax as you venture past waterfalls cascading into lush green valleys during summer. During winter, enjoy the beauty of frozen lakes and thick snow blanketing jagged mountain peaks. 

There are three rail adventures in Switzerland worth adding to your bucket list. The Matterhorn Gornergrat Bahn from Zermatt is absolutely incredible, with uninterrupted views of the iconic pyramid-shaped Matterhorn for much of the trip. It’s difficult to pick up your jaw off the floor!

Being the steepest cog railway in the world, the rail journey from Lucerne to Mt Pilatus is a fun jaunt during the summer months. Fresh mountainside air caresses your face as you travel through rocky and alpine landscapes to Mt Pilatus’ summit, reaching 48-degree inclines in the open-air carriages. 

Finally, head to Jungfraujoch, the “Top of Europe” on the Jungfraubahn from Interlaken. At over 11,000 feet of elevation, it’s the highest point in Europe that can be reached by train. It’s amazing to think the first rail journey was completed in 1912! This ride stops off at the Eigerwand and Eismeer lookouts, placing you a window’s thickness away from an unthinkable amount of snow and ice outside.

Each of these excursions can be completed from Lucerne. No Switzerland itinerary would be complete without at least one of these incredible scenic rail experiences!

WHERE TO STAY: Park Hotel Vitznau (9.5) or Bürgenstock Hotels & Resort – Waldhotel & Spa (9.3)

Wild Atlantic Way Ireland Europe Bucket List

21. Road Tripping the Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland

Recommended by Luke from Wild About BC

The Wild Atlantic Way, along the west coast of Ireland, is one of the most epic road trips in the world. This 1,550 mile route runs from the Inishowen Peninsula in Donegal to Kinsale in Cork. It is the world’s longest coastal drive. 

The rugged beauty of Ireland’s coastline is unmatched and you’ll get to enjoy endless beaches, sea cliffs, ancient buildings, local pubs, and friendly people during a trip here. While there are over 180 official discovery points along the route, there are some stops you simply can’t miss. 

The Cliffs of Moher may be the most well-known stop. These vertical sea cliffs tower 700 feet over the Atlantic Ocean. They are best enjoyed from the coastal walking path of these dramatic cliffs.  

Another highlight is the quaint town of Galway. The nightlife is amazing with numerous local pubs showcasing live music every night. You’ll enjoy walking the cobbled streets of this famed little city, also filled with restaurants and shops.  

One of the hidden gems along this route is Murder Hole Beach (don’t let the name scare you). To access this beach, you have to walk across a couple of cow filled fields before you get to the spectacular bay with golden sand surrounded by cliffs and rolling green hills.  

The west coast of Ireland is a stunningly beautiful place, that still isn’t too touristy because of its remote location and should definitely be added to your Europe travel bucket list.

WHERE TO STAY: Glenlo Abbey Hotel (9.2), The Dunloe Hotel & Gardens (9.2) or Fiddle + Bow Hotel (9.2)

RELATED POST: THE BEST 7 DAY IRELAND & NORTHERN IRELAND ITINERARY

Europe Bucket List Cinque Terre

22. Living La Dolce Vita in Cinque Terra, Italy

Recommended by Jesal Desai from Tourist to Travellers

Italy is known for its romantic villages and beautiful coastlines and Cinque Terre (5T) is no exception. These 5 beautiful villages are filled with colorful houses perched on high cliffs, lush green vineyards, sparkling sea views and mouth-watering gelato. 

Explore the 5 villages on foot by trekking the popular 2 mile path from Monterosso to Vernazza. The views from Vernazza are mesmerizing. There are actually over 75 miles of hiking trails you can take advantage of in Cinque Terra.

Other things to do include a romantic boat ride during sunset or a seaside meal at Nessun Dorma in Manarola. You can go cliff diving, relax on a beach in Monterosso or Riomaggiore, or explore the neighboring villages of La Spezia and Portofino. 

The real charm of Cinque Terra is spending time in these 5 villages at a relaxed pace, taking in all they have to offer. You won’t regret spending extra days here and enjoying la dolce vita.

The best time to visit Cinque Terre are the summer months in July and August. Undoubtedly it will be hot and crowded, however you can make the most of swimming and boating during this time.

WHERE TO STAY: Eremo della Maddalena (9.2) or Il Sogno di Manarola by The First (8.1)

Top-of-Bobotov-Kuk-Durmitor-NP-Montenegro

23. Hiking Bobotov Kuk in Durmitor National Park, Montenegro

Recommended by Veronika from Travel Geekery

Montenegro mountain ranges belong to the most stunning natural sights in the Balkans. Durmitor National Park in the North is one of the most popular ones. This National Park has been a UNESCO-listed site since 1980. During the Ice Age, the area was heavily covered in glaciers, which resulted in the creation of amazing canyons, lakes, and caves. 

Durmitor’s highest peak is Bobotov Kuk (2,523 m). To hike there and see the views from the top belongs to one of the best experiences any nature lover could wish for.

You can start in the Sedlo 1907 and then climb the 850 meters up. The hike is strenuous but anyone who’s reasonably fit can handle it. The view from the top makes it all worth it! The last part involves climbing a few rocks with the help of a steel rope. 

On the way down, you can take a different route and visit an ice cave – Ledena Pečina, where you always have some snow and ice stalactites, even in the summer months. Nearby you can come across a local farmer’s hut selling cold drinks and homemade cheese.

Other popular destinations within Durmitor NP include Crvena Greda peak (2,164 m) and Tara River Canyon with its monumental bridge Đurđevića Tara. You can even go whitewater rafting on the Tara River or zipline across the canyon.

WHERE TO STAY: Hotel Soa (9.3), Ski Hotel (8.7), or camping at Autocamp Mlinski Potok

Sagrada Familia Gaudi Barcelona

24. Getting Your Gaudi On in Barcelona, Spain

Recommended by Noel from Travel Photo Discovery

Master architect Gaudi, left such a significant mark on Barcelona that his name has become synonymous with the city. One of his signature landmarks to visit is La Sagrada Familia. Started in 1936, this impressive church is a masterpiece that is still in the process of being completed, even after his death.

Gaudi’s work on Sagrada Familia is part of a Unesco World Heritage Site that includes all his impressive buildings that are a must see in Europe.

To visit the incredibly popular basilica, you definitely need to make a reservation. Take a docent led tour or use their easy to follow self audio tour to enjoy the entire process. Doing a self tour allows you enjoy and capture the stunning interior at your own pace. An early booking will help you avoid the massive crowds.

His other Unesco architectural buildings are also available to visit as living museums. They include Park Guell, Casa Mila, Casa Batilo, Guell Palace, Casa Vicens and the Gaudi House Museum. All have fantastic docent tours that talk more about the creative process and how each of these buildings was created for individual owners.

Even Park Guell was created as a model development village that was just turned into a public park. Now everyone can enjoy and explore the fabulous mosaic artwork, outdoor spaces and unusual catchment system below the bench area.

WHERE TO STAY: The Barcelona EDITION (9.0) or The Wittmore – Adults Only (9.3)

RELATED POST: MONTSERRAT DAY TRIP FROM BARCELONA

Camino de Santiago Spain

25. The Ultimate Pilgrimage on the Camino De Santiago, Spain

Recommended by Alya from Stingy Nomads

Walking the Camino de Santiago is a unique, once in a lifetime experience for many people. The Camino is one of the most popular pilgrimage routes in the world with hundreds of thousands of people completing it every year on foot or cycling.

The pilgrimage to Santiago started in the 9th century soon after the discovery of what’s believed to be the tomb of Apostle St. James. Walking this route is frequently referred to as “The Way of St. James.”

People undertake this pilgrimage for a variety of reasons – religious beliefs, a time for self reflection before making an important life decision, a fitness challenge, or solo travel among other things. Walking the Camino is also an amazing way of visiting well-known places and discovering off-the-beaten-track locations.

Whichever reason brings people to the Camino, for many it becomes a life-changing event. Sometimes after completing the Camino once people come back to walk it again with friends or family. One of the greatest things about the Camino de Santiago is that anybody can walk it regardless of their beliefs, age, or fitness level. And you’ll make new friends from all over.

There are several Camino routes that start in different parts of Spain and Europe and finish at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. The most popular is the Camino Francés starting in France, going over the Pyrenees, then through Pamplona and tons of beautiful small villages. The most scenic route, Camino Del Norte runs through San Sebastian, Bilbao and many beach towns.

WHERE TO STAY: Hotel Palacio del Carmen (8.8) or Hotel San Miguel (9.4)

Exit45 Travels - Sailing in the Stockholm Archipelago

26. Sailing in the Stockholm Archipelago, Sweden

Recommended by Peta and Jonas of Exit45 Travels

The Stockholm Archipelago or Stockholms skärgård, as it is known by the locals, consists of 30,000 islands each with its own history, character and wildlife. One of the best ways to explore this area is by boat.

Swede’s love sailing during the warmer summer months, and it is easy to see why! You will see a splattering of traditional red Swedish summerhouses and communal saunas on the granite islands as you meander your way through the archipelago.

Covering an area of more than 650 square miles, there’s something to discover for everyone. You can explore uninhabited islands to experience undisturbed nature, sheltered waters, and clean beaches. Or you can choose to visit the 150 settled islands and charming coastal fishing villages with fabulous seafood restaurants, bars and adventure activities.

Some of the most popular islands within the archipelago to visit are Finnhamn, Grinda, Utö and Sandhamn, all of which have restaurants, bars, and beautiful nature. 

One of the best ways to visit the city centre of Stockholm is from the water. Gamla Stan or “Old Town” is an ideal destination for those who want to stroll the narrow, cobbled streets with its mansions and the old architecture. Here you will also find many museums, art galleries, and over a thousand restaurants. 

There are many things to see and do in Stockholm, but sailing in the Stockholm archipelago is an absolute must, even if only for a day.

Top Tip – The best time for sailing in Sweden is July to September when the weather is warmer and there is almost constant daylight – only 3 hours of semi-darkness a day.

WHERE TO STAY: Nynäs Havsbad (8.2), Fågelbrohus (8.2) or NOFO Hotel (9.0)

Zip World UK Kylie

27. Riding the World’s Fastest Zipline in North Wales, UK

Recommended by Kylie from Between England & Iowa

One of the most adventurous things to do in Europe is to ride Velocity 2 zip wire in Wales. It’s is the fastest zip line in the world and the longest in Europe! It’s just under one mile long and riders can reach speeds up to 120mph.

After a ‘warm up’ zip line, riders are taken to the top of Penrhyn Quarry in a truck, to the start of Velocity 2. The views from the top are great! The water in the quarry lake is SO blue and on a clear day you can see all the way to Anglesey Island. The ride down takes around 60 seconds, laying face down, head first, flying through the air like a bird!

Velocity 2 is part of Zip World, which has 4 locations across Wales. Each location offers a whole range of adventurous activities. Another unique venture is Bounce Below at Llechwedd Slate Caverns. Hidden in a cave, is a network of giant trampolines and tube slides as well as a separate Via Ferrata climbing course. 

A good place to stay is in the village of Betws-y-Coed, which is fairly central to the 3 locations in North Wales. There are several different accommodation options and places to eat. Betws-y-Coed is also home to Zip World Fforest with the awesome Fforest coaster! 

WHERE TO STAY: Craig-y-Dderwen Riverside Hotel (9.2)


So now that you know what to do in Europe for some truly exciting adventures, here are a few resources for planning your trip. Our tricks to getting great deals on flights and the top credit card offers to earn free flights will help you get more for your money so you can splurge on cool places to go in Europe.

If you have ideas for adventurous things to do in Europe that we missed, please share them in the comments below because we are always adding more to our own Europe Bucket List.

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3 Comments

  • Reply
    Jennifer
    October 4, 2021 at 11:19 am

    I want to go to all of these places!

    Jennifer
    Curated By Jennifer

  • Reply
    MP Allegaert
    October 4, 2021 at 12:53 am

    Wow, Jenifer and Guy. So many exciting and enticing destinations. I feel pretty intrepid that I have experienced a few — sailing (and dining) in the Swedish Archipelago, getting my Gaudí on, the wild West Coast of Ireland (where we handpicked mussels), the rails of Switzerland (we rode a mountain train to Murren), the Greek Islands (Santorini!), Bavarian Castles (have dined there, too), York (wow, can you feel the history), Prague (everything!), Christmas Markets (would highly recommend Stockholm’s), Not sure about hot air ballooning (I’m terrified of heights) or snorkeling in Iceland (yikes!), but I really appreciate your adventurous spirits. And hope to spread my wings a bit more in 2022!

    • Reply
      Jenifer
      October 4, 2021 at 9:15 pm

      Impressive amount of bucket list travel and sounds like you did so many fun things! The hot air ballooning in Turkey is quite a sight even if you just watch it from the ground.

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