13 of the most breathtaking places to visit in Europe
Europe may be one of the smaller continents, but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in variety and beauty. From stunning pink lakes and lavender fields to bright white waterfalls and fairy tale villages, it’s full of spectacular places to explore.
If you’re planning your next travel adventure, get some inspiration from these 13 absolutely breathtaking places to visit in Europe.
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1. Lapland, Finland
First on our list of stunning places in Europe is Finnish Lapland. It’s packed with gorgeous scenery and is one of the best places on earth to see the aurora borealis. Visible for roughly 200 nights a year, the odds are in your favour for a sighting if you visit during the winter months.
The Lights shine brightest in Finland’s northernmost region. In fact, it’s one of the best places to see the Northern Lights in Europe. A beautiful landscape of snow-covered forests, frozen lakes and vast expanses of tundra, Finnish Lapland is a magical place for a spot of aurora hunting.
Why not experience the lights Finnish-style, from the comfort of a sledge? This two-hour sledge ride through the Arctic Forest is just the ticket.
Fly to Rovaniemi
2. Cuevas del Drach, Mallorca
The town of Porto Cristo in Mallorca is home to a subterranean treasure. The Cuevas del Drach (or the Dragon Caves) is a hauntingly beautiful cave system, complete with magnificent stalactites, stalagmites and one of the world’s largest subterranean lakes.
When you visit the lake, you’ll be serenaded by a classical quartet in time to a light show. It’s a truly magical experience.
Tip: Book your tickets to the Cuevas del Drach via GetYourGuide and earn CashPoints.
Fly to Mallorca
3. Lofoten Islands, Norway
The Lofoten islands are widely considered to be one of the most picturesque spots in Norway. Boasting everything from white sand beaches and towering mountains to pretty fjords and lush green hillsides, they’re renowned for their remote beauty.
If you love outdoor sports, you’ll be spoiled for choice. Due to the diverse landscape, you can do anything from hiking and fishing to skiing and ocean rafting. Lofoten is also one of the best spots in Norway for surfing.
This is one of the most incredible and scenic places in Europe. Don’t forget your camera!
4. Las Salinas de Torrevieja, Spain
On the edge of the bustling resort town of Torrevieja, on the Costa Blanca, lies one of Spain’s most spectacular natural attractions: an enormous bubble gum-pink Salt Lake. Located in the Parque Natural de Torrevieja – a 37,000-hectare nature reserve – it’s an incredible sight, especially at sunset.
And if that’s not pink enough for you, the lake is a prime feeding ground for flamingos; there can be up to 2,000 during breeding season.
The unique landscape makes this one of the most striking places to visit in Europe.
5. Hallstatt, Austria
The stuff of postcards and travel brochures, Hallstatt is a charming UNESCO-listed alpine village on the shore of Lake Hallstatt.
The scene is like something from a fairy tale, with colourful timber houses, cobbled streets, tree-covered mountains, and the shimmering lake, Hallstätter See. It’s even rumoured that Hallstatt inspired the setting of the main village, Arendelle, in Disney’s Frozen.
The attractions are equally spectacular. Be sure to visit the ancient Salt Mine (Salzwelten Hallstatt) with its underground slide and salt lake boat ride, the impressive Glacier Garden, and the Beinhaus (bone house).
Fun fact: Hallstatt’s beauty inspired the Chinese to build their own version, in Luoyang, Boluo County.
Fly to Salzburg and drive for around an hour.
6. Lake Annecy, France
Tucked away in Southeastern France, the gorgeous city of Annecy sits at the tip of picturesque Lake Annecy, overlooked by the snow-capped Alps.
The best way to explore the lake is on two wheels. Follow the 42km route around it, and when you get hot, cool down in the crystal-clear waters – it’s the cleanest lake in Europe!
Fly to Geneva and drive for around an hour.
7. Sintra, Portugal
Just outside of Lisbon, the town of Sintra is built into the mountains. It’s a fairy tale destination: think turreted castles, Gothic palaces and stunning architecture.
Don’t miss Quinta da Regaleira. Classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the stunning complex comprises a palace, chapel, and gardens with grottos.
But the crowning glory is the Palácio da Pena: a multi-coloured Moorish castle sitting high in the hills above town. It’s a stunner.
While there, be sure to try a delicious pastel de nata (an egg custard tart dusted with cinnamon) at Café Saudade. You won’t regret it.
8. Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany
There’s no shortage of stunning castles in Germany, but the fairest of them all is undoubtedly Neuschwanstein. Perched on a hill above the village of Hohenschwangau, Bavaria, it’s nothing short of spectacular.
And we’re not the only ones that think so. The sprawling building served as the inspiration for the castle in Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty.
Explore the castle and hear stories about “Mad” King Ludwig II, who commissioned it on a Neuschwanstein Castle full-day tour from Munich.
Ever wanted to live like royalty yourself? Check out these top castle hotels.
Fly to Munich
9. Hraunfossar, Iceland
From black sand beaches to incredible volcanoes, there’re so many beautiful places in Iceland, it’s tough to pick just one breathtaking place to visit. But the Hraunfossar waterfalls are up there with the best.
The impressive cascade is actually a series of smaller waterfalls formed by water running out of the Hallmundarhraun lava field into the Hvítá river.
The water in the waterfalls is spring water, while the river Hvítá contains glacial water. When mixed together, you’ve got some of the purest water in the world.
Want more sightseeing inspiration? Here are 14 breathtaking experiences to enjoy in Iceland.
Fly to Reykjavik
10. Cinque Terre, Italy
Another stunning place in Europe is UNESCO-listed Cinque Terre (Five Lands). Tucked between Genoa and Pisa on a rugged stretch of the Italian Riviera, it’s a postcard-perfect collection of five fishing villages perched in the mountains, overlooking the azure Ligurian Sea.
If you’re partial to sandy beaches, scenic coastal hikes, terraced vineyards, and sparkling sea views, Cinque Terre is for you.
Reward tip: On a romantic trip with the other half? Surprise them with this Cinque Terre sunset boat tour and earn CashPoints in the process!
Fly to Pisa, hire a car and drive for around 90 minutes.
11. Lavender Fields, Bulgaria
As one of the top producers of lavender oil in the world, Bulgaria is bursting with vibrant lavender fields.
Shumen and Dobrich are two of the main growing regions. Hire a car and drive between the towns and villages in June or July to see endless fields of the fragrant plants in bloom. It’s a treat for the eyes and the nose.
Fly to Varna, and drive for around an hour.
12. The Crooked Forest, Poland
A hidden gem in Eastern Europe, there’s no other place quite like the Crooked Forest.
Sitting just outside Nowe Czarnowo, it consists of 400 pine trees that bend 90 degrees at their base. They look like inverted question marks, which is fitting as there’s no definitive answer as to why they have a distinctive curve in their trunks.
An eerie but beautiful sight, a trip to the forest makes for a truly unique experience.
Fly to Szczecin
13. Pamukkale, Turkey
Pamukkale, or ‘cotton castle’ in Turkish, literally looks like… well, a cotton castle. The UNESCO-listed area is a true spectacle of nature, with its cascade of terraces and heavenly hot springs.
This natural phenomenon is created by a volcanic lava-heated water which dissolves pure white calcium. The calcium evaporates and clings to the cliffs forming the travertines.
Allow half a day to bathe in the warm water and dry off in the Turkish sun.
Fly to Antalya and drive for around three hours to Denizli.
All of these astounding places are worthy of any bucket list. Tick them off with Norwegian and earn CashPoints on your European adventure.