Dreaming of your next trip to Europe? Start planning with these 20 Bucket list experiences.
Yes, it’s hard to imagine traveling amidst our shelter-in-place order with the COVID-19 pandemic going on. But this too shall pass and we will be able travel again.
The thing is, there are so many wonderful experiences to have in Europe, which makes it hard to pinpoint where to go.
1. Sail the Greek Islands
Take a cruise to the Greek Islands. There are many cruiselines, budgets, and itineraries to choose from. Santorini and Mykonos are a must for everyone’s first trip to Greece. Be sure to catch the sunset from Oia on Santorini. This is one of my favorite bucket list experiences.
2. See David From All Angles
Visit the the Gallaria dell’Accademia in Florence and see David, Michelangelo’s marble masterpiece. Standing 14 feet tall, this statue is so impressive and something everyone should see in person. Walk around David and view the incredible definition from every angle. A must see bucket list experience for all art lovers!
3. Watch a Flamenco Show in Andalusia
See an iconic Flamenco show where it originated…Andalusia, Spain. It is an amazing art form consisting of guitar music, song, and incredible dance. Seville has some famous shows with talented singers and dancers. If you’re going to Seville see 5 Things To See In Seville.
4. Visit the Vatican City
Visit the smallest country in the world! If you’re into art, even if you are not Christian, you can’t miss the bucket list experience of the Vatican City. Go to the museum and tour the Sistine Chapel and look up! Also, don’t miss St. Peter’s Basilica because it contains some impressive artwork. Mail a postcard from the post office! Check out When in Rome: My Top Five for more information on Rome.
5. Explore Ancient Greece at the Acropolis
No trip to Greece would be complete without hiking up to the famous Acropolis in Athens. The views from the top are spectacular. It’s hot in the summer so wear sunscreen, a hat, and bring some water. Walk back down the hill through the Plaka and fortify yourself with a cold beer and a Gyros!
6. Smile at Mona Lisa
Another bucket list for all art lovers should be a visit to the Louvre museum in Paris to see the famous Mona Lisa. Yes, it sounds so cliché and it is. But everyone should see her famous smile. Oh, and while we are on clichés, don’t miss the Eiffel Tower either. If you’re heading to Paris, check out 5 Easy Day Trips From Paris for more ideas.
7. Drink Chianti in Chianti
Chianti, Florence, Siena and in between is known as the Chianti Region of Italy. It’s the perfect place to sip – or guzzle – some fabulous vino. The area has some of the best food – think pasta and meat – and lots of red wine. Could an oenophile possibly miss the bucket list experience?
8. Gamble in Monte Carlo
Bring out your inner James Bond bucket list experience. Dress up, have martini – shaken, not stirred – and a delicious dinner at the Hotel de Paris and then head across the street to the famous Monte Carlo casino to play some Baccarat or bet it all on red in Roulette!
9. Ski the Swiss Alps
Everyone should experience Europe in the winter. If you ski, or board, Switzerland is the ultimate experience. My favorite place is Zermatt, nothing else has ever compared or come close. There is plenty to do for non-skiers too! Check out Christmas in Zermatt for more information.
10. Visit Ephesus
Located in Turkey, not far from Izmir, the ancient city of Ephesus houses the Celsus library, the third largest library of the ancient world. It once held over 12,000 scrolls in niches in the walls. Be sure to visit the Terrace Houses at Ephesus as well.
11. Drink Glühwein at a Bavarian Christmas Market
No visit to a Bavarian Christmas market would be complete without a mug of Glühwein (mulled wine). The Christmas Market season is a very special time in Europe that everyone should experience. See Magical Christmas Markets in Europe for more information.
12. Stroll along the D-Day Beaches of Normandy
Go to Normandy, France and stand where the Allies made history and changed the course of World War II. Visit the American Cemetery and memorial to see the thousands of crosses of those who sacrificed their lives for our freedom. Check out What to See In Normandy for more information.
13. Take a Gondola Ride in Venice
Splurge on a romantic gondola ride through the canals in Venice with your love. Bring along some champagne and be sure to kiss when passing under the Bridge of Sighs, legend says it will bless your future with eternal love. If you are cruising to or from Venice, check out Venice Cruise Port.
14. Drink Beer At Oktoberfest
Don your Lederhosen or Dirndl and join the party at the Munich Oktoberfest. Learn a few German drinking songs and say Prost…a lot. Yes, it’s crowded but it’s really fun. Some tips to avoid the huge crowds: go during the day, on a weekday, and reserve a private table in a tent well ahead of time. Oh, and the beers are one Liter so prepare yourself! The food in Munich is amazing, check out Bavarian Food Guide for information on what to eat.
15. Smell the Lavender in Provence
Early to mid Summer is the best time to see – and smell- the gorgeous lavender fields all over Provence, France. Two of the most picturesque places are the Luberon around Mont Ventoux and the beautiful abbey Notre Dame de Senaque.
16. Visit Prague
Prague is a beautiful city with so much to see. Be sure to walk across the Charles Bridge, visit the Prague Castle, and check the time on the astronomical clock. Prague in Winter is beautiful, and the Christmas market is magical!
17. Drive Germany’s Romantic Road
Rent a car and drive the Romatische Strasse -Romantic Road- in Bavaria. But please rent a BMW, Mercedes, Porsche or Audi, for the love of God. You’re going to be driving on the Autobahn and you’ll want to keep up! Driving on the Autobahn is a dream bucket list experience for any car buff! Along the way be sure to stop in picturesque medieval Rothenburg ob der Tauber for a night. Visit the market square and the medieval torture museum!
18. See Neuschwannstein
Perhaps the most iconic place in Bavaria, Neuschwannstein castle was Walt Disney’s inspiration for Cinderella’s pad. It is along the Romantic Road near Füssen, so add it to that trip. Check out Fairytale Bavarian Castles for more information.
19. Walk the Dubrovnik Wall
Dubrovnik on the Croatian Adriatic coast is a historic walled city. Many Mediterranean cruises stop here, especially ones including Greece so you can cross both destinations off of your list! Get a bird’s eye view of the city and the Adriatic by walking along the wall. See Best of Dubrovnik for more information.
20. Catch Some Rays In Cannes
Head to the French Riviera and soak up some rays. Wear a wide brimmed hat, some huge sunglasses and mingle with the rich and famous crowd in Cannes. Have lunch at the world renowned Carlton Inter Continental Hotel, or along any of the beachside restaurants.
Yes, it’s difficult to predict when we will be able to travel with this whole COVID-19 pandemic nonsense going on. However, it’s never too early to make up a bucket list and plan a trip for when the travel ban is lifted! I remain optimistic that that will happen SOON!
Stay healthy and happy planning,