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The Ultimate European Trip

So you’ve decided to plan trip to Europe and see all the sights that you can within that time to make it the ultimate trip. With so many places to chose from and events to see, it’s important to plan out your trip ahead of time to make sure to include everything that you’re dreaming of.

Things to do in Rome, Italy


Trevi Fountain

The Fountain features Neptune, the god of the sea, and just underwent an extensive restoration to reopen in November of 2015. The fountain will take less than an hour to visit and also has some lucky folklore associated with it. If you throw one coin into the fountain with your right hand over your left shoulder, you’ll return to Rome. If you do so with two coins, you’ll fall in love with an attractive Roman. If you do so with three coins, you’ll marry that Roman.



The Pantheon was built in 120 A.D. and is most known for its perfect proportions. This is an amazing feat, especially given the times. The artist Raphael and Italian kings Victor Emmanuel II and Umberto I are buried here. You can also have coffee, pizza or gelato in the Piazza della Rotunda in the area surrounding the Pantheon.



The Colosseum is a must-see when in Rome as it is a much more impressive site in person than in pictures or video. This is where many gladiators fought to the death and where a crowd of about 50,000 could watch. The architecture is impressive with a circumference of 573 yards and was also built on marshlands.

Be prepared for lines as it is very popular, but you can buy tickets ahead of time. You can even take a tour at night for a different feel or get a tour guide to talk you through the rich history.


Things to do in Paris, France


Notre-Dame Cathedral

The famous Notre-Dame took almost 200 years to complete and was finished in 1345. After this, it was badly damaged during the Revolution. Victor Hugo’s novel Notre Dame de Paris sparked interest in the cathedral and renovations restored it. It is free for the cathedral itself, but if you want to climb the 387 steps, there is a fee. People that have completed the climb insist that the fee is worth it. You can also venture into the crypt below the cathedral floor and view remainders of medieval structures and ancient remains.

Notre Dame (2)

Musee du Louvre

The Louvre is without a doubt one of the most famous museums in France as well as the entire world. It is the world’s largest art museum and many say that it is the best. It was first a fort and then a palace before becoming a museum. The Louvre houses the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo and Winged Victory of Samothrace, which are some of the most famous works of art. The museum first opened in 1793 and features 35,000 pieces in addition to those three. Many travelers have issues with the crowds, especially around the small Mona Lisa, as well as the vastness of the museum. It’s impossible to see everything, but it seems like a great adventure to try!

Museu du Lovre

Eiffel Tower

Another famous landmark is the Eiffel Tower, which was originally designed and build for the 1889 World’s Fair. The French hated it at first, but thankfully talks of tearing it down weren’t acted upon. You are able to take an elevator or walk to the top, for a price. It is quite a site to see at night when it is lit up. Every hour at night, the light bulbs flicker.


Le Marais

Le Marais is one of the oldest districts and also was home to writer Victor Hugo. This is truly old Paris, which you will feel as you walk through the cobbled streets. A lot of the buildings standing here survived the French Revolution. They are now shops for art galleries and cafes. The area is also the Jewish district and features challah bread and falafel as well as other Jewish foods. In some of the Jewish delis, there are now nightclubs and boutiques that moved in.

Palais Garnier-Opera National de Paris

The architecture will amaze you, and you will see why it was the setting for Phantom of the Opera. It is located just north of the Louvre. If you want to see an opera in this great theater, you will want to book tickets several months in advance as it is very popular. You can also take a guided tour which gives a great history lesson and gives you an opportunity to look around.


Things to do in London, England


British Museum

The museum is one of the top, and free, attractions in London. Not only does it house great artifacts, the architecture of the building is also art in itself. It contains millions of artifacts, including the Rosetta Stone, Elgin Marbles and the Lindow Man. Admission is free, but some special exhibits do require a fee.

- British Museum

Buckingham Palace

This palace is, of course, the home of Queen Elizabeth II. You can tour the palace, except for her quarters, during the summer. You can see 19 State Rooms where the royal family hosts guests. The decor alone is a sight to behold as it includes chandeliers, Rembrandt paintings and French and English furniture.

If you’re truly interested in the history, you’ll want to take the audio guide along with the tour, which will give you a detailed history of every room.

Something else that is well-known and you’ll want to take advantage of is the Changing of the Guard which also takes place during early summer and draws a large crowd.

Buckingham Palace

Piccadilly Circus

Piccadilly Circus is often compared to Time Square as it is where five roads meet there in a busy center of the city. It is not an actual circus although watching all of the people bustle through may make it seem like one. It is near many attractions including shops, clubs and restaurants. It is always electric with activity. To get a true feeling for the place, it is best to visit at night when the billboard lights really stand out.

Buckingham Palace

Things to do in Pamplona, Spain

Running of the Bulls

The Running of the Bulls, or the Encierro, is without a doubt the best-known attraction in Pamplona. If you want to see this, you need to make sure to be there between July 7th and July 14th.The Running of the Bulls is part of the fiestas of San Fermin, who was the patron saint of Navarra. While the religious aspect isn’t as recognized anymore, many people still come together, and it is a great excuse for a party. The Running of the Bulls starts in Calle santo Domingo at 8:00 a.m. Two rockets are launched and the bulls charge behind the runners for 825 meters from the corral to the bullring. It’s usually over within three to four minutes unless one of the bulls becomes isolated from the others and takes longer to finish. When the third rocket is fired, it signals that all of the bulls have entered the bullring. The fourth and fifth rockets signify that they are in the corral and that the bull run is over.

Running bull

There is a double fence along the route for safety and security that is made up of over 3,000 wooden parts. There are also two groups apart from the runners that help with safety. There are the pastores, or bull shepherds, who walk behind the bulls with a long stick. They act to keep any runners from inciting the bulls from behind, to help bulls that have been separated and to keep them from turning around and running the other way. There are also the dobladores who have bullfighting knowledge and are positioned in the bullring. As traditional bullfighters do, they have capes. These are to help runners run to the sides after entering the building and pull the bulls toward the corral quickly.

This is an iconic event that may seem crazy to most people, but the ones that take part thrive on the physical challenge and the risk involved. It takes calm nerves, quick reflexes and fitness to tackle this challenge. It’s very risky.

Things to do in Munich, Germany

Oktoberfest, Munich

Without a doubt, the thing to do in Munich is Oktoberfest. You’ll, of course, have to decide between this and the Running of the Bulls as Oktoberfest takes place in from the third weekend in September through the first Sunday in October while the Bulls are in July. You may just need to venture to Europe twice! With all there is to see, that shouldn’t be a hard feat.

Oktoberfest began with the wedding of Crown Prince Ludwig to Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen on October 12, 1810. The first year there were horse races, then later an agricultural show. In 1818, a carousel and swings were added along with beer stands followed by beer tents.


Today Oktoberfest is the largest festival in the world and one of the greatest parties. The grounds expanded immensely since the horse racing days and contain addition carousels and roller coasters and other forms of diversion. There are also events and without a doubt, much beer drinking to be had. It has only ever been interrupted in the event of either Wars or cholera epidemics.

Things to do in Vienna, Austria


– Museum of Fine Arts

This museum contains ancient Egyptian and Greek artifacts as well as masterpieces by those such as Titian, Velasquez, Van Dyke and Rubens.

Image by Pedro J PachecoOwn work, CC BY-SA 3.0 at


– House of Music

Vienna is well-known for being an important city for music as it is where many composers lived, worked and performed. These include Mozart, Strauss, Mahler, Haydn and Beethoven. The House of Music is a museum that not only showcases music but the science behind it as well. There are exhibits dedicated to the evolution of sound and mechanics about how we hear.

There also a fun floor dedicated to the Vienna Philharmonic. On this floor, you use a virtual wand to conduct the musicians, but they will make fun of you if you screw up.


Things to do in Lisbon, Portugal


– Oceanarium

The Oceanarium is the largest indoor aquarium in all of Europe. There are exhibits featuring a variety of oceans, including the Global, Pacific, North Atlantic and Antarctic Oceans. This provides a great variety of animals that you can see as well, including Alaskan sea otters, tropical birds, catsharks and scorpionfish.


– Cascais

Cascais is a seaside town that was once a fishing village but is now featured as a beach vacation. You can stay in one of the fancy resorts or make it a day trip to just relax in the sun.


Things to do in Dublin, Ireland


– Dublin Castle

It would be insane to visit Dublin and not visit a castle. This one is in the middle of the city which makes it easy to get to. The oldest structure is the Record Tower, which dates back to the 13th century. The castle has had many purposes over the years besides being a stronghold against foreign attacks, including a prison, water station, office of record, seat of Parliament, royal court and military residence. These things were all before 1850.

Today is hosts foreign dignitaries, state dinners, some government offices and also has space available for private events. How great it would be to host an event in a castle! There is also the famous Chester Beatty Library within the castle. It’s free to explore the grounds but costs admission to venture inside the castle.


– St. Patrick’s Cathedral

This is the largest cathedral in Dublin and was built where it is believed that St. Patrick was baptized. It is one of the most beloved churches in the world and attracts about 500,000 visitors annually. The architecture is why you want to stop in. It was built between 1220 and 1256 and was restored beginning around 1860.

There are beautiful vaulted ceilings and amazing details. You’ll also want to see the tomb of Jonathan Swift who wrote Gulliver’s Travels. The cathedral is open to the public daily.


– Trinity College and The Book of Kells

Trinity College is the country’s oldest college and was founded by Queen Elizabeth I in 1592. Another nod to writers, Jonathan Swift, and Oscar Wilde both graduated from Trinity College.

The reason to venture to the college these days is to look at the Old Library, which has a massive collection. The library opened in 1592, and the Athenaeum has more than six million printed volumes. The most famous book here is The Book of Kells.


The Book of Kells was created by Celtic monks around 800 A.D. It is an illustrated version of the gospels and features depictions of Christ and followers with intricate borders and designs.

– Chester Beatty Library

The Chester Beatty Library is the museum of choice when visiting Dublin, but it is often missed by tourists. It has an extensive collection of rare books, manuscripts and drawings, some of which go back to 2700 B.C. The museum is named for Sir Alfred Chester Beatty, who was an American mining millionaire and collector. He donated his collected to Ireland in 1969.

You can see the Babylonian clay tablets, Biblical Papyri and 260 manuscripts of the Koran.

Things to do in Stockholm, Sweden


– Millesgarden

Millesgarden is considered one of the most magical places in Stockholm. It is a sculpture garden and contains work of sculptor, Carl Milles. It’s a good place to come and relax and just bask in the artwork. The sculpture Hands of God, as well as many other popular works of Milles’, are here.

1200px-Millesgården_2009bImage by By  Holger.Ellgaard – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0


– Skansen

Skansen is an open-air museum that was founded in 1891 on the island of Djurgarden. There are more than 150 buildings that were once located throughout Sweden. They were then moved to Skansen and rebuilt. This is a great place to see how the Sweden used to live.

There are also restaurants, cafes, a zoo and an aquarium.


– Rosendal’s Garden

While on Djurgarden seeing Skansen, you can also see Rosendal’s Garden also located on t he island. It’s a beautiful place to relax and pick fruits, vegetables and flowers.

Image By Arild Vågen (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons


– Vasa Museum

This museum features information about the warship Vasa, which capsized on its maiden voyage in 1628. It wasn’t even a mile away, so many people saw what happened to it.

The museum opened in 1990 and even has the salvaged ship, which makes it one of the most popular attractions in the area. You can also visit exhibits about its history, but the most interesting piece is the ship itself.


Things to do in Edinburgh, Scotland


– Arthur’s Seat

If you feel like getting in some hiking, there is a great view to be had at Arthur’s Seat. You will view the world from atop an extinct volcano. Just keep in mind that it’s not an easy hike, but the view is worth it.


– Royal Botanic Garden

The Royal Botanic Garden is 70 acres of flowers, which is no doubt quite a sight. There is also a rock garden, Chinese garden, art venue Inverleith House and a visitors’ center. The garden is free.

Image By HamOwn work, CC BY-SA 3.0


Things to do in St. Petersburg, Russia


– Hermitage Museum

Hermitage Museum was founded in 1764 by Catherine the Great. She originally wanted it as a place to keep her own private art collection. There are six buildings and opened to the public in 1852. This is the reason why most people come to St. Petersburg in the first place and it brings in more than two million people per year. Here you’ll be able to see works from Da Vinci and Picasso, among other renown artists. There are six buildings, one of which is called the Winter Palace. Within the Winter Palace was the home of the Tsars for about 200 years.


Things to do in Monaco


– Monte-Carlo Casino

The casino is one of the most popular places in Monaco. Not only does the building contain the casino, there is also the city’s opera and ballet. If you’re a James Bond fan, you’ve probably heard of this casino as it has been used in some of the films. In addition to needing to be 18 to get in, you also must have the proper attire. This is one place where you have to dress glamorously to be let in so make sure to bring the glamour in addition to your money!


– Larvotto Beach

Larvotto Beach is one of Monaco’s most popular beaches, so you need to make sure to get there early if you want a spot. There are pebbles instead of sand so make sure to bring actual shoes. It is ideal for kids as the tide is relatively mild. The only thing that parents need to watch out for is that some people do sunbathe topless, so you’re going to want to watch that if your kids are coming along on your trip with you.

Image by PilgabOwn work, CC BY-SA 3.0


Tips for Traveling to Europe on a Budget

Now that you’ve seen a number of the great places you can visit in Europe, let’s talk about how to save a bit of money. According to Travel and Leisure, here are some ways to save money.

– Make sure to compare airfare and compare results. Some websites you’ll want to check out include kayak.com, Destination Europe and Airfare Planet.

-Check out package tours since often they can save you money. You’ll still want to compare individual prices just to make sure. Check out Go Today, Gate 1 Travel, and Tour Crafters.

-Find small inns or B&B’s to stay in instead of large hotels or resorts.

– Buy food from daily markets or go to fancy meals during lunch instead of dinner.

– Many of these attractions are free.

– Learn some bargaining skills and go to street markets for your souvenir shopping.




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