Best Places to Visit in Europe for First-Timers – Our Top 4
If you've never visited Europe, you may be a bit overwhelmed with the choices of places to go. Sure, there are the popular countries like Germany, but they may be a bit overdone and touristy to some. Then you have some of the most underrated locations like Moldova, but these may be too foreign. So, that leaves us with trying to find some destinations that are just right for the first-time European traveler.
What Makes a Place Good for First-Time Visitors to Europe?
Aspects of a good first-time European travel locale include:
- Ease of finding your way around
- Food that is new and interesting but not too exotic
- Budget-friendly places where you can stay close to main attractions
- Good mix of things to do and see
Just to be clear, though, we're not saying that places like London and Paris aren't great places to go. Visiting such cities can offer some amazing experiences. There are some iconic things to do in Paris that will certainly tick off some things on your bucket list. However, by going to some of the more underrated places, you can get some European travel experience that will enhance your time in some of Europe's more famous destinations.
First Europe Trip: Where Should I Go?
The Danube River, the Parliament Building, the many thermal baths, The Citadel, and Heroes' Square are just some of the sightseeing highlights in Budapest. The Danube Promenade alone can provide some terrific views of the Buda Castle, the Liberty Statue on Gellert Hill, and the Fisherman's Bastion. We recommend checking out St. Stephen's Basilica just before it closes. For a fantastic night out, choose from the many restaurants and bars in the same square.
Novi Sad, Serbia
Those looking for one of the most budget-friendly European cities should consider Novi Sad in the Balkan country of Serbia. This town has the charm, beauty, and history that you want to experience in Europe but without the hefty price tag. With its vibrant and colorful Town Square, prominent Petrovaradin Fortress, notable cathedrals, and youthful Exit Festival, this city gives you the best bang for your buck.
While you are in the Balkans, you can travel easily and cheaply to Croatia. You can even spend just a day in Dubrovnik before heading over to Montenegro for a couples of days for some fun things to do in Kotor.
Amsterdam may not be as wallet-friendly as Novi Sad, but boy is it a bustling must-see. The UNESCO World Heritage canals that carve out the city provide the most beautiful backdrop for visitors walking or biking around town. The locals, the food, and the museums here are some of the best in Europe. The overall vibe of this place makes Amsterdam worth the visit!
With Alfama, one of the most historic neighborhoods in all of Europe, Lisbon offers a whimsical taste of the past while delivering lively and electrifying energy. Roam the hilly streets, gaze out to the Tagus River from one the many viewpoints, delight in the delicious treats, and listen to the sounds of Fado as you drift into the night. This spirited city on the Atlantic Coast doesn't disappoint.
This is not an exhaustive list, but it's a good place to start if it's your first time in Europe and you're wondering where to go. Our suggestions are based on the value we feel these places provide. Hopefully, visiting these cities gives you a good introduction to traveling in Europe and can provide inspiration for any future adventures in the area.
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About the Author
Hi! I'm just a California girl addicted to travel and adventure with a passion for art and dance on the side. Born in Iran, but I consider myself a citizen of Earth, adhering to the belief that "The world is but one country and mankind its citizen." I strive to make a positive impact on everyone I meet and learn as much as possible from them. My degree out of college is in Marketing. However, I entered the hospitality business at an early age and worked my way up to hotel management. After about 13 years in that industry (5 of which I was a hotel assistant manager), I made the decision to move to Thailand and leave the 9 to 5 grind behind. My husband and I set off for a life of living abroad and hopes to continue traveling the world, just 3 months after our wedding. It all started with the two of us, along with our cat, together in Thailand. Can't wait to see where life takes us next!