Things to do in Europe

The must-do Europe sights really come down to the tried and true tourist attractions. A climb to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, a visit to Buckingham Palace in London, a trip back in time to the Crete in the Greek Islands, a wander through the Colosseum in Rome; we could go on.

While these iconic landmarks won't disappoint, some of the best must-see sights in Europe really depend on your interests. For example, architecture students and those who like looking at pretty buildings will be left awestruck while admiring Gaudi's spectacular La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. Keen swimmers and photographers alike won't be able to resist lapping up the picturesque geothermal Blue Lagoon in Reykjavik, Iceland, while beach lovers and sun worshippers will find themselves very much at home along the pristine coastlines of Portugal, Croatia and Turkey.

Furthermore, many of Europe's most popular things to do involve the region's famous festivals. Toast to your favourite ale at the world's biggest beer festival of Oktoberfest in Munich, or join the orange-coloured royal celebrations of King's Day in Amsterdam. Try your hand at glamping at England's beloved Glastonbury music festival, or get down and dirty at the world's biggest food fight, La Tomatina, held annually in the town of Bunol in Spain.

So where do you begin in a continent that has enough charisma to charm the pants off you? Here are a few suggestions to get you started.

Eiffel Tower 

The most iconic of Parisian landmarks is a definite must-do. The Eiffel Tower in Paris is the world’s most recognisable structure and also one of the most photographed. Whether you climb the stairs for a panoramic view, join a cycle tour around the base or simply admire the scene from the grass, be sure to take in the nightly Eiffel Tower light show as well.

The Colosseum

Step inside Rome’s imposing Colosseum and be transported back to the heady days of the mighty Roman Empire. Within the multi-tiered seating of this ruined ancient amphitheatre, you can almost imagine the cheers and jeers of the crowd as they watched the bloodthirsty spectacle of gladiators, executions and mock battles in the arena as entertainment.

The Acropolis 

Head to Athens’ ancient high city on the Acropolis, a flattop hill dotted with a plethora of Classical architecture and marble statues swirling with historic legends of the Greek gods and historic feats. Towering over the city, the famous buildings of the Acropolis include the iconic Parthenon building and its treasures in the New Acropolis Museum are a must-see.

The Greek Islands

The idyllic Greek Islands are a pick-your-own-holiday adventure. Choose your fave spot from over 165 inhabited isles to soak up the sand, sun and ouzo or go island-hopping in the blue Aegean Sea for jet-set style. 

Europe’s Castles

One tradition that’s pretty unique to Europe is its royal families. Some are well-known like the British monarchy and the Danish royals (thanks to a certain Tasmanian-born princess!), and then there’s the minor princes and princesses of tiny municipalities you’ve never even heard of. 

Christmas Markets 

If you’re dreaming of a white Yuletide, Europe’s Christmas Markets are your childhood fantasies come true. While we can’t promise Saint Nick will make a personal appearance, twinkling lights and lashings of festive food and cheer will make the traditions of the season truly memorable.

Europe's Museums

With a history that spans centuries, it should come as no surprise that Europe is no slouch in the museum stakes. In fact, if it’s collectable there’s probably a European museum dedicated to it!

Europe's best party spots

If your travel style is go hard or go home, you’ll find your spiritual mecca in Europe’s 24/7 cities, islands and party towns. From Iceland to Spain and the UK to Russia, there’s no shortage of pubs, clubs, bars and alternative venues to let your hair down and cut loose with the locals. 

Go on a pub crawl

While there’s no shortage of public houses in the UK – some 57,500 locals at last count – pub culture is also a longstanding tradition in European countries such as Germany, Spain, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary and Ireland, to name a few.