Europe

Things to do in Europe before you die

Whether it's catching an opera in Vienna, having afternoon tea in London, shopping for leather in Florence, or sipping a cocktail by the Eiffel Tower—we’ve rounded up a list of top things you need to do, eat, see, shop for, and experience in Europe.

  • 1. Take a canal tour in Amsterdam

    Take a canal tour in Amsterdam

    iStock

    When in Amsterdam, grab some fried herring, a can of Heineken, and hop on a canal tour. The Dutch aren't crazy about curtains, so you can peek right inside some of the most amazing palatial townhouses as you float along—think coffered painted ceilings and gorgeous interiors. —Maria Shollenbarger

  • 2. Shop the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul

    Shop the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul

    The Coveteur

    Even the most studied vintage buffs might find themselves slightly overwhelmed and outpaced by Istanbul's Grand Bazaar. It’s one of the largest and oldest markets in the entire world, with construction dating back to the 1400s and more than 5,000 stalls offering, well, everything: handmade jewelry, textiles, ceramics, carpets, and old coins alongside knockoff handbags, watches, and shoes. —The Coveteur

  • 3. Geek out at Trinity College

    Geek out at Trinity College

    National Geographic Image Collection / Alamy

    Aside from having an incredibly beautiful campus, Dublin's Trinity College also houses the famous Book of Kells, a 9th-century manuscript penned by monks in amazingly intricate fonts and illustrations. When you’re done perusing, a visit to the library’s Long Room (pictured) is an absolute must—you’ll feel like you stepped directly into a Disney movie. —Caitlin Morton

  • 4. Go skinny dipping in Sweden

    Go skinny dipping in Sweden

    iStock

    When the sun rises at 3 a.m. in summer and Swedes wander home from a night on the town, post-club skinny dipping is considered perfectly lagom (acceptable). Favorite places to neatly fold your party gear and take the plunge? Of the 14+ islands that comprise the city, we'd pick the tiny coves west of Västerbron Bridge at the tip of Långholmen, and off the small, wooden jetties along Norr Mälarstrand on the southern shores of Kungsholmen. They’re both private and safe. The clean, clear, cool water is sure to tingle and recharge you for your journey home, or that first morning fika (coffee). —David Jefferys

  • 5. Wander through Kensington Gardens

    Wander through Kensington Gardens

    iStock

    After a picnic in Hyde Park, head west to one of London’s prettiest green spaces. Kensington Gardens is home to Kensington Palace, where Princess Diana lived from 1984 until her tragic death in 1997; you’ll also find plenty of lovely foliage, as well as some of London’s most famous monuments (including tributes to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert) on the grounds. It’ll almost certainly be crowded on a sunny spring day, but it’s still worth the trip.—Amy Plitt

  • 6. Examine David—from many angles—in Florence

    Examine David—from many angles—in Florence

    iStock

    This isn’t as saucy as it sounds, we swear. Despite the omnipresence of Michelangelo’s iconic sculpture, David deserves to be examined up close. He is breathtaking: a 14-foot-tall marvel in marble who is alternately human and divine. David commands your attention from all vantage points. Your perspective changes as you look left, at the muscle definition the artist managed to convey in hunks of stone, and then look right, into the frightened but determined eyes of a simple man about to face off against the giant Goliath. 

    The statue stands alone in the center of a rotunda at the Accademia in Florence, because no other artwork could compete for your attention. (Though Michelangelo’s Prisoners are worth a study before you leave the museum; the replica David outside Palazzo Vecchio, pictured, is also a treat.) —Laura Dannen Redman

  • 7. Eat oysters in Croatia

    Eat oysters in Croatia

    iStock

    People have been harvesting oysters in the bay of Mali Ston (between the slender peninsula Peljesac and mainland Croatia) since Roman times. Their delicate flavor has been lauded for centuries. Wash them down with a glass of the local white wine, pošip. —Calder Quinn

  • 8. Sleep in a car in Stuttgart

    Sleep in a car in Stuttgart

    Demetrius Fordham

    And we don’t mean in your rental. In Stuttgart, Germany’s automobile capital—the current home of Daimler and Mercedes-Benz—you can actually sleep in a car that’s been turned into a bed. At the car-themed V8 Hotel, you can choose to sleep in a Volkswagen Beetle, Mercedes-Benz, and even an engine-red Cadillac convertible. Don’t miss the chance to visit the Mercedes-Benz Factory right across the road—and watch as it churns out a whopping 2,500 cars every day. —Krisanne Fordham

  • 9. Catch a flamenco show in Andalusia

    Catch a flamenco show in Andalusia

    iStock

    Watch a flamenco show in any city in Andalusia, Spain (though my favorite is Seville). It’s so fun to grab ‘una botella de vino’ while you sit back and watch the beautiful dance with your friends. —Rachel Coleman

  • 10. Take a carriage ride through Kraków's Old Town

    Take a carriage ride through Kraków's Old Town

    iStock

    Kraków is a picture-perfect Polish city steeped in history and culture. The beautiful Old Town and medieval Wawel Palace are always worth your time, especially if you take a leisurely ride in one of the city’s famous horse-drawn carriages. They queue up around the market square and offer a once-in-a-lifetime experience for visitors. —Project Bly

    See more must-do things across Europe.

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