European Capitals You Must Visit at Least Once

Push pins on a world map.

There is a reason why most people place European capitals on their wish lists! Each and every capital city in Europe presents an intriguing combination of rich history, mesmerizing architecture, friendly people, tasty food, incredible nightlife, exquisite artwork, and many more. No matter which city you decide to visit, be sure that you will fall in love as soon as you arrive. You will fall in love not with another person but with small pathways, quirky stores, flowery balconies, and roads leading to the beach. Or, who knows – maybe you do fall in love with a local too! So, what are you waiting for? Pack your bag, buy that ticket and start exploring! But, if you don’t know where to go first, we got you! We prepared a list of European capitals you must visit at least once! Thus, keep on reading.

London, England

Without a doubt, one of the European capitals you must visit at least once is London – the capital of England! This capital is host to several million tourists every year. Some tourists see the fantastic London architecture, some learn about the United Kingdom’s rich history, and some just want to have fun in a city full of posh shops and restaurants.

The best way to experience all of the things mentioned above is to hop on a New Routemaster – a double-decker bus that will take you to all of London’s hotspots and allow you to take some Insta-worthy photos. For instance, it will take you to the Tower of London, Big Ben, Tower Bridge, Buckingham Palace, St Paul’s Cathedral, and many more.

Moreover, when it comes to London, we have to give you some essential tips for essential travel – get yourself an umbrella as soon as you arrive. Rain is a common sight here, so if you don’t want to be disturbed by it, have a small umbrella by your side at all times.

A picture of Big Ben and London Bridge.
London will forever be one of the European capitals you must visit at least once.

Paris, France

Welcome to the City of Light. Or, let us say, welcome to the City of Love and one of the best European destinations for singles! Just like London, Paris is also one of the European Capitals you must visit at least once in your life! Or, if you are really lucky, visit it a couple of times as one trip is not enough to see everything this beautiful city has to offer.

Some of the sights you simply can’t miss out on while in Paris are Eiffel Tower, Louvre Museum, Arc de Triumph, Place de la Concorde, etc. But, don’t just look at these sights – learn about them! Find a tour guide who will explain these sights’ role in history. Moreover, while here, don’t forget to sit in one of those famous Parisian cafes and order an espresso and a chocolate croissant. And, check out the street vendors and buy a beret too!

Also, don’t hesitate to visit Paris in winter! The city lights will leave you breathless! And, when you get tired of all the walking and exploring the city, why not go to some of the famous ski resorts in and around Paris, such as Montmartre or Les Trois Vallées. Trust us, there are many reasons for a ski trip to Europe, that is, to Paris and France, but we will leave it up to you to find out. 

A view of Eiffel Tower in Paris.
Going to Paris must be on your bucket list!

Rome, Italy 

Ahh, Italy! There is not a person in this world who wouldn’t like to visit this sunny county where everything smells like pasta and wine and where everybody wants to be your friend. But, to understand the true spirit of Italy, one must go to its capital – Rome. Rome is, above all, a city telling Roman Empire’s history. You can see that when through the Roman Colosseum, Vatican City, Pantheon, the Spanish Steps, etc. And you can see that when just walking through the streets of Rome.

We assure you – once you start exploring the city, you will get an instant wish to move here. And why wouldn’t you? Just hire movers and let them relocate you. If you want to avoid stress when packing, the key is starting early. But, we wouldn’t worry about stress here – Rome is just naturally peaceful. 

Moreover, movers are not the only ones who can help you relocate – Trevi Fountain also can. Namely, it is believed that if you toss one coin into this fountain, you are destined to return to the Eternal City (Rome). And, if you want to return and also find the love of your life here, you must toss two coins. So, be careful what you wish for!

Trevi Fountain in Rome.
One thing is for sure – you will want to come back to Rome!

Athens, Greece 

We simply cannot talk about the European capitals you must visit at least once without mentioning Athens – the capital of Greece. Athens is, without any doubt, the oldest capital of the world. Historical landmarks stretched throughout the city for as long as the eye can see. Acropolis, Parthenon, Plaka, Herod Atticus Odeon, Panathenaic Stadium, Agora, etc., are just some of the must-see places in Athens. 

Moreover, while here, don’t forget to go to one of the many museums and galleries. This is where you will be able to learn the most about Greek history and culture. And, when you get tired of all the sightseeing (which will doubt will happen), sit in some local greek restaurant and try some authentic food and drinks. The Greeks will welcome you with amazing hospitality and, if you are lucky enough, they may play some music or let you break some plates to celebrate your trip. 

There are many European capitals you must visit at least once. We mentioned just four of them, but you already know that there are many more with visiting. So, do your own research. Maybe you will find a capital that suits your preferences more. But don’t hesitate to visit the ones we mentioned either – they are on top of all traveler’s lists for a reason. 

Christmas in Vienna

A Christmas in Vienna is one not to be missed. It’s worthy of “bucket list” inclusion and one you will remember for a very long time. Soft sparkling lights, gently falling snow, the smell of freshly roasted chestnuts, and musicians marching through the streets. It sounds and feels like a fairytale, but Christmas in Vienna is very real. The Christmas markets in Vienna are truly something magical.

From mid-November until the end of December, Austria is the place to enjoy traditional Christmas markets. Festive lights, seasonal treats and snow-covered roofs make for a special experience that only Austria can provide. Austrians often refer to the Advent period as the country’s “fifth season”. Vienna always shines, but during the Advent season, it dazzles. Festivities take place in historic squares and pedestrian areas, making long walks from cafés to museums and shops even more enjoyable.

Christmas Markets in Vienna

The Christmas Markets of Vienna

In Vienna, the markets are an age-old tradition that put a smile on everyone’s face and provide an overwhelming spirit of Christmas. The forerunners of the present-day markets date back to 1298 in the Middle Ages when the Duke of Austria granted Vienna’s citizens the privilege of holding a “Krippenmarkt” or December Market. The character and prevalence of these markets has naturally changed considerably over the centuries.

Vienna itself says that there are 20 official Christmas Markets. There are in fact many more smaller ones. As you walk through the central old city, you’ll come across small squares (or platz) where small markets and vendor booths are open and waiting for you.

The most well-known and largest market is at Rathausplatz and known as Vienna Christmas World. The market sits right in front of the Rathaus (Town Hall) with some 150 booths. The adjacent City Hall Park has an ice rink, ice paths through the park, and a children’s area with nativity path, reindeer train, ferris wheel and carousel. The unique arts and crafts blend perfectly with baked goods and sausage stands.

A short walk away is the Christmas Market on Maria-Theresien-Platz, between the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna and the Naturhistorisches Museum Vienna. Over 70 booths offer traditional Christmas handicrafts and original gifts throughout the season of Advent. There are regular visits by Gospel choirs and music groups to amplify the festive mood. The Christmas Village then transitions seamlessly into the New Year’s Eve Village.

Christmas in Vienna

The Imperial and Royal Christmas Market on Michaelerplatz, in front of the Imperial Palace features Austrian products, sweets, pewter figures, hand-made crafts and more in its white huts. The Christmas Market on Stephansplatz focuses more on tradition, with some 40 booths and huts beside St. Stephen’s Cathedral offering high-quality Austrian products. The Advent market at the Opera House has gingerbread, cheese, meats, punch and wine from regional producers in Austria.

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The best time to head to the markets are weekdays and early evening when the lights come on and the day turns into evening. Weekend days are very busy.

Enjoy the Lights Above The Graben And Kärntner Strasse

The Christmas lights of Vienna shine with a magical beauty. Thousands of crystals and giant chandeliers make you feel like you are in a large imperial ballroom as you walk along the main pedestrian areas in the old city center. Start an early evening walk from the State Opera House building, down Kärntner Straße to St. Stephen’s Cathedral, then along the Graben and up Kohlmarkt to the Hofburg Palace. Walk through the Palace grounds and you’ll end up back at Ring Strasse (and just a few blocks from your starting point).

Christmas in Vienna - The Graben

Walk the Ringstrasse

The Ringstrasse is the grand boulevard that circles the historic Innere Stadt (Inner Town) where ancient fortifications once stood. Along the “Ring” you’ll see museums, parks, restaurants, five-star hotels, luxury stores and Christmas markets. Ringstrasse is decked out with lights and many Christmas displays to highlight Vienna’s impressive architecture. You can walk the “Ring”, get on a public bus or tram, or take a scheduled sightseeing tram with guide.

Weihnachtspunsch Or Glühwein?

Most street corners feature a mulled wine or punch stand where locals and visitors gather for a warm drink and conversation. The local Lions Club has a number of drink stands along with a slightly lower price and a Styrofoam cup. The markets serve their punch in collectable mugs with a unique design for each market. You’ll pay a deposit when you order your drink, so you can keep the mug (or just buy the mugs separately). The slightly more popular steaming mug of warmth is Weihnachtspunsch (Christmas punch). It comes in dozens of flavours across the old city. The more traditional drink is a mug of hot Glühwein (mulled wine). You can’t go wrong with either and should try both. Either choice will take the chill away on a cold winter’s evening. Multiple drinks into the evening may have you singing songs from the “Sound of Music”.

Christmas in Vienna

Try Maronis (Roasted Chestnuts)

You’ll find at least one “Maroni Stand” at every market and at many major street corners in the winter months. They are selling roast chestnuts from one steaming steel barrel and roasted potato snacks from another barrel. It’s a Christmas experience that goes back to the Middle Ages. You can almost imagine children blowing on a hot, freshly peeled chestnut to cool it down. Now you can follow in their footsteps.

Christmas in Vienna - Roasted Chestnuts

Eat Sausage or Leberkäse? (or both)

Sausage stands are year-round in Vienna, but they seem more inviting in winter. Austrians love their meat and the roadside stands don’t disappoint for taste. If you need some food energy and a break from exploring, try a Käsekrainer or Bratwurst. The other must try Viennese snack is Leberkäse. It is a kind of rectangular sausage cut as a thick slice of meat on a fresh bread roll with mustard. It is an Austrian staple, cheap and delicious. It’s my personal favourite- I’ve eaten a lot of Leberkäse.

The Austrian capital is the perfect destination for a holiday hiatus. Vienna combines history, traditions and culture into one of the world’s most livable cities.

Your Christmas spirit will come alive in this fairytale setting. Vienna is really the perfect destination for Christmas – this is Christmas in Vienna.

A Foodie’s Travel Itinerary for Italy

This Post Was Originally Published on the TuGo Travel Blog on May 21, 2019 by Mark Crone

A foodie’s travel itinerary for Italy—where to begin? When it comes to food, Italy is in a league of its own, with so many possible itineraries and meal choices for every palate. Yes, Italian food is available outside of Italy, but the fresh, local ingredients make Italian food jump to another level when you’re there! If you need a reason to travel, or need a reason to see Italy at all, food is certainly a good one.

Italy has 20 different regions, each unique with its own food specialties. A single travel itinerary with all 20 regions would be a dream come true! But to be more realistic, this foodie travel itinerary includes a few hand-picked regions this time (with a return trip to follow).

Venice

A great starting point for your foodie travel itinerary is Venice. Tourists are everywhere, and the streets are always packed. The main walking routes offer quick Italian takeout foods like slices of pizza, baked goods, and gelato. When you venture off the main routes, you’ll find side streets and squares or “piazzas” where the locals are. The small neighbourhoods with cafes and restaurants are where you’ll enjoy an authentic Italian meal. Venice is not particularly known for a cuisine of its own, but you’ll find seafood and pasta aplenty.

Gondola boats on the canals of Venice

Naples

If you’re a fan of stone oven pizza, the birthplace of pizza, Naples, must be on your itinerary. In the 18th century, an inventive chef was said to have added tomato to traditional Roman focaccia flat bread. Authentic Neapolitan pizza has a thin crust, flavorful sauce and a dusting of cheese.

Among the many pizzerias in Naples, there are a couple that stand out. Gino’s is Italian-style fast food, and pizza at its best. Big, delicious, and ready in 5 minutes. You’ll be lining up for a table unless you book in advance, but it’s well worth the wait. The Neapolitans also head to Antica Pizzeria Port’Alba—the oldest pizzeria in the world, dating back to 1830. Even with just the traditional ingredients, there is a marked difference in taste.

A delicious pizza in Naples

Amalfi Coast

The Amalfi Coast is all about the views, and getting there adds to the excitement. From Naples, we drive south along the highway, then onto the winding roads of Sorrento and its long mountain tunnel. Positano, most famous for its incredible coastal views, is our first destination on the Amalfi Coast. It also has some of the region’s top hotels, including Le Sirenuse, with its Michelin-starred restaurant, La Sponda. It’s not cheap by any means, but well worth the 5-star experience. Down on the beach, there are some great restaurants including Chez Black and Le Tre Sorelle–both highly rated and right beside each other. From Positano, you can easily make day trips to Amalfi, Ravello, Scala and others.

A sunset view of the Amalfi Coast

Rome

A foodie’s trip to Rome is akin to the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in Spain. Within the ancient city and its grand architecture lie restaurants that combine fresh ingredients into simple dishes. Perhaps the best example is the classic Roman dish, Cacio e pepe (cheese and pepper). This dish is made with 3 ingredients – black pepper, pecorino romano cheese, and pasta (normally spaghetti). A gastronomic euphoria takes over when these ingredients combine to create a dish that has been indulged since ancient Roman times.

A plate of pasta in Rome

Roman food also has the adept ability to use “poor man’s” ingredients known as quinto quarto. These are the animal parts that are often frowned upon including tongue, tripe, brain, and liver. If you’re adventurous, you’ll enjoy trying these dishes. If you’re a picky eater, why not give quinto quarto a try under the adage ‘when in Rome!’

Hostaria Costanza is the place to go for traditional old Roman dining. Built from the ruins of Pompey’s Theatre, Hostaria Contanza is overflowing with Roman/Italian atmosphere. Some of my favourites include fried artichokes with cheese stuffed zucchini flowers, crepes funghi e tartufo (mushroom and truffle), ravioli di carciofi (ravioli with artichokes) and a tender beef fillet with Barolo wine sauce. And of course, all meals are enjoyed a little more with a glass of the house red wine.

Tuscany

There are so many reasons to include Tuscany in your foodie Italian travel itinerary. The wine, the food, the scenery and the people. Among the many wines, the Classico Chianti (with the black rooster on the bottle neck) stands out. The other well-known wine in the area is the Super Tuscan, blended from Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grapes. Among the very best wineries to get a Super Tuscan (and other quality wines) is Villa San Andrea. The small 400-year-old winery provides an intimate tour and wine tasting for just 10 Euros.

Cobblestone streets in Tuscany

Among the many places to visit in Tuscany are Siena, San Gimignano, Lucca, Montalcino and of course, Florence. You really can’t go wrong wherever you go, but San Gimignano stands out. It’s an amazing, well-preserved medieval village with several small hotels, shops, museums, and Tuscan restaurants.

My favourite restaurant is Le Vecchie Mura. It has both a restaurant inside and an outside terrace area across the lane. Authentic dishes feature pasta, steak, rabbit, deer, wild boar and of course, local wine. Eating a Tuscan meal overlooking Tuscany views is hard to beat.

An experienced travel agent will save you time and money in planning your foodie travel itinerary for Italy. You’ll need to book airfare, accommodations and a car rental to make this Italy dream trip a reality. Start planning and get packing–and bring your appetite!

Safe travels,

Mark