Fancy an aesthetic adventure? There are beautiful tourist places all over Europe just waiting to be discovered, captured and shared, from dashing city skylines to sublime natural views and handsome, historic buildings. We’ve compiled a few of our favourites for you to centre your next trip around below. Cameras at the ready…
1. Wales: Strumble Head Lighthouse
Strumble Head Lighthouse was among the last lighthouses to be built in Britain - erected in 1908 - but largely has a new role now: serving as one of the UK’s most beautiful tourist places! The petite pearlescent structure is flanked by impressive cliffs, rolling hills and mirror-like waters… a splendid spot for that Instagram shot.
Where to stay: Picture-perfect Penrhiw Priory is based in Britain’s smallest city, St Davids. Whimsical touches and a warm atmosphere are at the heart of how they do things here, and from the many amenities the hotel provides to its award-winning restaurant, you’re guaranteed a stunning stay.
2. Ireland: The West Cork Coastline
You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to gorgeous backdrops in Ireland. The whole country is blessed with dramatic countryside views and exciting towns and cities, but its West Cork coastline takes the cake. Soak up the sights along the Wild Atlantic Way - the longest defined coastal driving route in the world - and seek out the country’s most photogenic corners by following our five-day itinerary.
Where to stay: Blue Haven Hotel has snagged the Irish Hospitality Awards’ “No.1 Boutique Hotel in Ireland” award twice, in both 2017 and 2019. Their success says it all. This property is a smash hit with both locals and tourists alike, largely thanks to its eclectic culinary offerings and lush, boutique rooms. Definitely one to watch.
3. Greece: Caves of Diros
Diros Cave - otherwise known as “Nature’s Underground Cathedral” - is straight out of a Greek myth. Awe-inspiring stalagmites and stalactites form an arch around the inky waters within, evincing gasps of admiration from all those who see them. Combined with the atmospheric glow of the cave walls, you’ll feel as though you’ve entered another world.
Where to stay: Want to be close to the coast? Kyrimai Hotel offers a lot of striking sea views from its bedrooms, balconies and terrace areas. Inside is a real treat for the eyes too. Furnished in traditional style, this quintessentially Greek property oozes authenticity and class.
4. Italy: The Dolomites
Mountains. Lakes. Valleys. The Italian Dolomites is undoubtedly one of Europe’s most beautiful tourist places. Explore nature’s fruits as you travel through - not missing the famous Three Peaks, a UNESCO World Heritage Site - and take part in activities including horseback riding and cycling. It’s heavenly.
Where to stay: Hotel Villa Kastelruth has everything. Its chalet-style architecture will put you right in the spirit of your alpine holiday from the moment you arrive, while its spa features - an outdoor heated pool, jacuzzi, relaxation room and panoramic sauna - provide perfect ways to unwind after athletic days in the mountains. Sign us up.
5. Croatia: Kvarner Gulf
Croatia’s beloved Kvarner Bay could be considered the Caribbean of the continent. There are few other places across Europe where you can find whiter sands or bluer waters - nor so much fascinating culture. Discover tiny fishing villages, gardens packed with lush, tropical flowers and luxurious architecture dating back to when the wealthy used to vacation here.
Where to stay: Seeking some privacy? The ultra-intimate Villa Astra has only seven bedrooms, so is the number one property for tourists looking to get away from it all while vacationing in Croatia. Benefit from a secluded beach, well-kept gardens and more.
6. France: La Petite-France
Image credit: Lucile Noiriel
Strasbourg boasts an inordinate amount of beautiful tourist places, particularly in its most historic area, La Petite-France. Half-timbered houses sit snugly alongside the Ill River, and charming bridges act as key areas from which to spot many of the city’s most storybook-esque views: from quaint mills to leafy waterside terraces. The Instagram likes will be flooding in.
Where to stay: Eclecticism and authenticity are at the foundation of Hotel Le Bouclier d'Or. This property consists of three buildings ranging from the mid-16th to early 19th century, and its captivating features, including an original spiral stairway, create a deeply historic vibe that harks back to its multifarious roots. It’s a one-off.
7. Czech Republic: Karlovy Vary
There are 137 places of interest in the Czechian spa town Karlovy Vary, according to its official website. Take special note of the Mill Colonnade and the Orthodox Church of Saint Peter and Paul: a Byzantine baby blue structure, which harbours both an engaging past and flawless features.
Where to stay: Surrounded by mineral springs and a fairytale forest is Rubezahl-Marienbad Castle Hotel & Golf. Named after a mountain spirit, this hotel specialises in making your travel dreams come true - and it’s mighty good at it. You’re sure to enjoy its opulent offerings, including live piano concerts and spa treatments.
8. Norway: The Sognefjord
Image credit: Lisa Ursprunger
There are no long faces at Norway’s longest fjord. This winding waterway can’t help but inspire joy, and is closed in on either side by the country’s most awe-inspiring nature, like rugged cliffs and sweeping forests. Appreciate it all from a guided boat tour or head into the mountains for skiing, trekking, or even a unique Viking experience. You’ll take enough pictures to fill a whole album.
Where to stay: Tradition and modernity meet at Hotel Park. The family-run establishment is eclectic and full of warmth: one of Bergen’s true paragons of hospitality. To top it all off, it’s within easy walking distance of the city centre as well.
9. Romania: The Romanian Athenaeum
The Romanian Athenaeum is one of Romania’s most iconic buildings and, many understandably claim, one of the most beautiful tourist places in all of Europe. Strike a pose in front of its stately facade or head indoors to stare up at its baroque cupola, carefully restored in a medley of dashing colours. Its past is pretty caption-worthy, too. We bet you wouldn’t have guessed that it was built on the foundation of a former American circus!
Where to stay: Suter Palace - an architectural masterpiece built between 1902 and 1906 - is an exemplar of elegance. This five-star hotel is perfect inside and out, and boasts some of the most tranquil gardens in the whole city: an ideal place to press pause on fast-paced urban life.