Although it is the world’s second smallestcontinent, Europe welcomes more than half of all the tourists worldwide.
In fact, 7 of the 10 most visited countriesin the world are European nations.
It’s easy to see why; a well-preserved culturalheritage, rich history, safety and efficient infrastructure makes visiting Europe a breeze.
Here’s a look at the best places to visitin Europe: Number 25.
As the former seat of the Hapsburg Empire, Vienna is awash with impressive imperial buildings and palaces, which so comprehensively conveythe wealth and power of its former monarchs.
Now the capital of Austria, the city is adelight to get lost in.
Nicknamed ‘the City of Music’, the namesof its famous residents roll off the tongue, with Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert amongthose who once graced its streets.
You have to marvel at the determination ofprehistoric man when you look at Stonehenge.
Construction started about 3000 BC on whatwas originally burial grounds.
Huge monoliths, weighing 25 tons, were dragged150 miles to the site a few hundred years later.
It’s not known exactly how many humungousrocks were moved to a field near Amesbury but there are 13 standing today.
It’s also not known why Stonehenge was built, but many believe this great English landmark is associated with early astrology.
Egypt may have its pyramids, but Italy andSwitzerland have a nature-made pyramid of their own: the Matterhorn.
At 14, 692 feet high, this famous mountainis one of the highest in Europe.
The mountain has four faces, each equallyrugged.
The legendary mountain has been popular withclimbers since the first ascent in 1865; during the summer 150 people a day try to climb it.
Couch potatoes may be just as happy to staybelow and gaze in awe at the summit playing hide and seek with the clouds.
The Plitvice Lakes are so pretty, officialsturned them into a national park.
Located in central Croatia, Plitvice Lakesconsists of 16 lakes that attract more than a million visitors a year.
The lakes are surrounded by lush forests andconnected by waterfalls cascading down from one lake to another.
The lakes are divided into two sections, lowerand upper, because of the difference in elevation.
The best way to see the lakes is walking;on the route you might even see some wildlife.
Budapest was already an established city whenthe Hungarians took over in the ninth century.
Today, Budapest is the country’s capitaland largest city.
In between these two events, Budapest wasruled by the Mongols and Ottomans, among others.
Considered one of the most beautiful citiesin Europe, Budapest is home to the Museum of Fine Arts with its collection of more than100, 000 works.
Be sure to visit the centrally located OldTown with its many museums, churches, palaces and Parliament building.
The Portuguese capital of Lisbon lies on theTagus River along the Atlantic coast.
It is this location that encouraged explorersto sail far and wide around the world in the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries.
One of the things you’ll want to see isBelem Tower, a 16th century fortress on the Tagus’ north bank.
If you’re looking for good views of oldLisbon, head to Saint George Castle that was built on a hilltop by the Moors.
Gullfoss You probably don’t know too too many peoplewho’ve been to Iceland.
But it may be worth a trip there to visitthe spectacular Gullfoss waterfalls.
Located in southern Iceland, Gullfoss is oneof Iceland’s top tourist attractions.
At times it almost appears glacier-like, appropriate, perhaps, since it is fed by a glacier.
The waterfalls begins just after the ÖlfusáRiver makes a perpendicular turn and then cascades down a three-step staircase intoa canyon that is 115 feet deep.
Athens Athens, a city that’s been inhabited sincethe fifth century BC, gave the world the concept of democracy and is the birthplace of Westerncivilization.
Many of the city’s major landmarks can befound in the old town, particularly around the Acropolis.
The list includes the temple of Zeus; theTheatre of Dionysus where Sophocles works were performed and the Parthenon, which sitsatop the Acropolis.
Bay of Kotor When you’re hungry for breathtaking scenery, feast your eyes on Kotor Bay in southwestern Montenegro.
This bay off the Adriatic is just downrightpicturesque: hemmed in by mountains, with quaint villages sandwiched between the cliffsand the gorgeous blue water.
Several well-preserved medieval towns ringthe bay.
People make pilgrimages here, not only totake in the scenery but also to visit the many Orthodox and Christian churches spreadamong the villages.
Moscow For nearly 900 years, Moscow has been thecapital of Russia.
As such, this old city has plenty to offervisitors.
Let’s start with the 15th century Red Squaresince many of the city’s key attractions surround it.
A top landmark is the Kremlin, a former fortressthat houses museums and the president of the Russian federation.
Lenin’s Tomb sits in the middle of the square, while the iconic onion-domed St.
Basil’s Cathedral, now a museum, is on one side.
Venice Venice is for romantics who love gliding throughthe Grand Canal with a gondolier singing Italian love songs.
This is, after all, the city that sent MarcoPolo off on his journey to China.
Start your exploration of Venice at San MarcoSquare, the city’s most famous square.
Here you’ll find the Doge’s Palace, theseat of Venetian government, and St.
Mark’s Basilica, the main church in Venice with stunningviews from the tower.
Venice also is famous for its bridges acrossthe canals.
Monte Carlo If you’re into glitz and glamour, look nofurther than Monte Carlo, the major city in the tiny principality of Monaco.
Monaco has always been known for these qualitieswhich reached new heights when its prince made Grace Kelly his princess.
Sitting on the shores of the Mediterranean, Monte Carlo is known for fast car races and its elite casino.
Take a walk along the harbor to see yachtsthat belong to the rich and famous.
Alhambra The Alhambra is one of the great wonders ofSpain.
It’s a gorgeous palace-fortress complexthat can be found in Granada in southern Spain’s Andalusia province.
This imposing complex started out as a smallfortress in the late ninth century, though it was built on the ruins of a former Romanfortress.
Taken over by Christian rulers, it is thesite where Columbus got the go-ahead to discover the New World.
The blending of architectural styles overthe centuries is stunning.
You’ll find great art and grand gardensthroughout.
Florence If it weren’t for Florence, the Renaissancemight not have happened.
Florence is generally credited with bringingEurope out of the dark ages with great artists like Michelangelo.
You can see their works at the Uffizi gallery, or the Academia that displays the original David.
Eat a gelato while strolling the Ponte Vecchiothat bridges the Arno River.
Ogle the over-the-top riches of the Medicifamily at the Pitti Palace.
Marvel at the early engineering that createdthe great Duomo.
This is Florence at its best.
English history buffs will have a field dayin London.
This city on the Thames is chock full of palaces, from Buckingham Palace to Hampton Court Palace .
More a prison than a palace, the Tower ofLondon is home to the crowns jewels.
And from Knightsbridge – don’t forgetto visit the magnificent food halls at Harrods – to Carnaby Street, the shopping is awesome.
You can get around London quickly and efficientlyby riding the famous Tube.
“Fairy tale castle” is a phrase that aptlydescribes Neuschwanstein Castle in the Bavarian Alps.
This 19th century Romanesque Revival castleslooks like it just stepped out of a fairy tale; some say Neuschwanstein provided theinspiration for the castle in Disney’s Sleeping Beauty.
The castle was built as a retreat for KingLudwig II of Bavaria, who viewed it as a romanticization of the Middle Ages The castle was built ofbrick, then covered in rock, including the white limestone that is visible from afar.
Amsterdam is a pleasant city marked with meanderingcanals lined with tall, narrow row houses.
It is the city where Anne Frank kept her famousdiary, so visiting the house where she wrote is a must.
This “Venice of the North” also is a cityof great art, beginning with the Rijksmuseum, home to great European masterpieces; Rembrandt’shouse and the more modern van Gogh museum.
Take a break from sightseeing to tour andsample Holland’s beer at the Heineken Brewery.
Prague, with a long history of war and destruction, is considered one of the best places to visit in Europe.
Despite devastation caused by World War II, Prague has a very nice Old Town that is worth more than a few hours of your time.
Prague has many pedestrian zones, which makingwalking a delight, as you wander by Prague Castle, through the Jewish Quarter and overthe Charles Bridge.
Wenceslas Square, situated in the New Town, hums with a vibrant nightlife and entertainment air.
Istanbul may be on the outer fringes of Europebut well worth a visit when you’re traveling abroad.
Turkey’s biggest city is a fascinating place, filled with rich history, colorful markets and mosques.
Top attractions include the Bosporus thatseparates Europe and Asia; the ecumenical Hagia Sophia that’s been a Greek OrthodoxChristian basilica, then an imperial mosque and now a museum, and the 15th century TopkapiPalace, also a museum today.
Get in a little shopping at the Grand Bazaarthat’s been in operation since 1461.
When the summer heat of Europe gets you down, head to Norway with its pretty cool scenery.
Geirangerfjord is a 9.
3-mile long fjord withcrystal blue waters fed by picturesque cascading waterfalls.
Take a sightseeing trip on a car ferry throughthe fjord, passing villages on the shores.
Look out for the Seven Sisters and Suitorwaterfalls so named because legend says he’s trying to court the sisters.
Also look for Bridal Veil – when the lightis right, it looks like a thin veil covering the rocks.
Founded by the Romans, Barcelona today isa bustling city on the Mediterranean Sea.
As the capital of Catalonia, it is a powerhousein the region.
It is perhaps best known for the unusual buildingsdesigned by the architect Antoni Gaudi.
These landmark structures include La SagradaFamilia, a church that’s been under construction since 1892.
You could build your entire visit around hisbuildings, but then you’d miss out on other Barcelona delights, such as La Rambla, a popularpedestrian street in the central part of the city.
As European cities go, Dubrovnik isn’t verybig, but don’t let its size deter you.
This little jewel, with less than 43, 000 people, is one of the most visited cities on the Mediterranean.
Dubrovnik transports visitors back to a timewhen the fortified city was a major maritime power commanding the third-largest navy inthe Mediterranean.
As you wander the streets, you’ll likelycome across sculptures of St.
Viaho, the city’s patron saint whose life is celebrated everyFebruary.
When it’s time to sit back and relax, takeyourself to to Santorini, an island in the Aegean.
Top travel magazines consider this a primedestination; once there, you can’t help but agree.
The island has picture-postcard villages, an active volcano and stunning sunsets.
Be sure to visit Fira, a village perched atopa cliff.
You’ll also want to sample wines, such asthe dessert wine Vincanto as well as the produce that is made sweeter and tastier because ofthe volcanic ash soil it grows in.
Paris Songs laud Paris in the springtime, but anytime of year is a good time to visit this riveting city on the River Seine.
It’s a city loaded to the brim with history, culture, great food and high fashion.
The iconic Eiffel Tower is one landmark youwon’t want to miss.
The Louvre houses one of the greatest artcollections in the world.
Its great churches include Sacred Heart andNotre Dame.
When it comes to opulence, there’s Versailleswith its famed Hall of Mirrors.
Rome The ancient Romans established outposts asfar away as Great Britain.
They didn’t ignore their home city, however, when it came to building great monuments.
One must-see landmark is the Colosseum, anarena that could hold up to 80, 000 people for gladiator contests.
One of the biggest draws is a tiny countryinside the city: The Vatican City, with its impressive St.
Peter’s Basilica with artprovided by Michelangelo.
Maybe you’ll get a glimpse of the pope athis Wednesday audiences.