2024 is fast on the horizon, and with it comes a new year of travel. Whether you’re a digital nomad looking for some new soil to trek or an office worker daydreaming about your next vacation, there’s no time like the present to start booking your next plane tickets and plotting out your itinerary.
One of the hottest spots to travel is, of course, Europe — home to so many different cultures, languages, and histories, all within a stone’s throw of each other. It’s no wonder Europe is the ideal travel destination for so many people in 2024!
But exactly which European paradises should you visit? To answer that question, I’ve researched the top five travel destinations in Europe for you to consider visiting for your best 2024. Hop on board, and get ready for a worldwide adventure!
- Czech Republic
Our first destination is the Czech Republic, or Czechia, a landlocked country in the heart of central Europe. Originally founded as the Duchy of Bohemia, the land became part of the Holy Roman Empire and the Austrian Empire, then was its own independent state of Czechoslovakia until its division into the Czech Republic.
With its reputation as one of the safest cities for travelers and a stellar public transportation system, the capital of the Czech Republic, Prague, is an attractive destination for history buffs and those looking to experience authentic culture.
Prague is home to famous tourist attractions such as Prague Castle, the Charles Bridge, Staroměstské náměstí (Old Town Square), St. Vitus Cathedral, and the Prague Zoo. It’s also famous for its classical music, being the birthplace and home of Antonín Dvořák, from whom the illustrious Dvořák Hall is named.
If you’re planning to stay longer and want to explore outside, the Czech Republic is also home to many national parks, such as the Šumava National Park, Bohemian Switzerland National Park, Podyjí National Park, and the Krkonoše Mountains National Park.
- San Marino
Traveling in Northern Italy but need a break from the hustle and bustle of busy Italian tourist destinations? One of the most interesting countries in Europe and the fifth smallest country in the world, San Marino is next on our travel itinerary.
The fifth-smallest country in the world with a great view of the Adriatic Sea, San Marino is a microstate on the northeastern side of the Apennine Mountains. With a tourism-based economy, plenty of shopping spots, and natural viewpoints aplenty, this cozy retreat is excellent for a day trip by car from the nearby Italian city Rimini.
Founded by Christian Saint Marinus in the early 4th century CE, San Marino prides itself as the oldest constitutional republic in the world. It’s famous for historical sites such as the Guaita Tower, Basilica del Santo, Public Palace of the Republic of San Marino, Cava dei Balestrieri, as well as natural sites such as the Monte Titano Peak and Passo delle Streghe.
- United Kingdom
If you’re keen to stick to English-speaking countries, there’s no place than the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, or the UK for short. This island nation is composed of four smaller countries, namely England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland — all fantastic places to visit, accessible under the same visa.
Once the seat of the great British Empire, the UK has a rich history and maintains a prominent role in international politics and sports. The capital, London, is home to famous tourist attractions such as the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, the British Museum, and Trafalgar Square.
For those looking to escape bustling city life, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland are all stunning places to visit for their verdant scenery, natural wildlife, and rich cultural histories. Some famous historical spots to check out include Giant’s Causeway, Edinburgh Castle, and Eryri National Park.
For a more remote destination, look no further north than Iceland for a chilly yet relaxed and nature-filled trip. This island nation is known for its friendliness to tourists and breathtaking aurora borealis that you can only get so close to the North Pole.
In particular, Iceland is known for its famous Golden Circle, a 300km route that spans its three most popular tourist destinations: the Geysir geothermal area, Gullfoss Waterfall, and Thingvellir National Park. Most tour packages even cover all three of these attractions in one day!
Additionally, Iceland is home to several dozens of geothermal hot springs, such as the Blue Lagoon and Sky Lagoon, whose mineral-rich waters will revitalize your body. Rather than being chapped from the cold, your skin will look better than ever after a trip to Iceland!
The final stop on our would-be Europe tour is Portugal, home to good food, year-round warm weather, breathtaking beaches, and a rich cultural heritage.
A subtropical paradise bordering on the Atlantic Ocean, Portugal is a seafood lover’s paradise, prominently featuring fish stews, salted cod, roasted octopus, and garlicked prawns — all paired with a fine wine, of course. Its pastry scene is nothing to sneeze at either, being the home of the quintessential pasteis de nata, or Portuguese egg tarts. All great things to enjoy as you recline on the beach!
Historically, the Kingdom of Portugal played a large part in the Age of Discovery and is known for many famous explorers such as Ferdinand Magellan, Vasco de Gama, and Bartolomeu Dias. Some famous attractions for you to check out include the Torre de Belém (Belem Tower), Jerónimos Monastery, Praça do Comércio, and the Pena National Palace.
No matter what you’re looking for on your next vacation, you’re sure to find it somewhere in Europe. From the historical powerhouse of Prague, the mountaintops of San Marino, the melting pot of the UK, the frozen wonders of Iceland, and the sunny beaches of Portugal, there’s something to please everyone somewhere in Europe. With this list, I hope you’ve found some inspiration for your next adventure in 2024.
And hey! If you can’t decide on just one out of these five, why not visit them all?