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13 Don’t-Miss Bucket List Experiences in Europe

Make once-in-a-lifetime memories exploring French castles, boating around Greek islands, and more.

Fort Lovrijenac, Dubrovnik, Croatia
Hi, I'm Laurel!

Laurel Steele is an Istanbul-based writer from Michigan with work published by Turkish Airlines, Urban Travel Blog, and numerous websites not worth mentioning. She's lived and traveled overseas since 2010 and currently divides her time between Turkey, Guatemala, and friends' couches. She stays busy practicing Ashtanga, watching K-Dramas, and redesigning the house for her semi-adopted street cats Kimchi and Baykuş. She occasionally posts on Instagram and sends out a newsletter.

Europe, a continent steeped in history and natural beauty, offers a myriad of captivating experiences. From Portuguese winemaking adventures to cruising beneath fjords in Norway, there are certain activities you just can’t do anywhere else in the world but Europe. To make the most of your European adventure, consider these bucket list experiences that will only leave you wanting to explore more of this diverse continent.

1. Delight in Iceland’s celestial spectacle on a northern lights excursion

When Mother Nature hosts a light show, it’s best to be front and center. The northern lights, a natural phenomenon also known as the aurora borealis, are basically nature's neon graffiti in the sky. In Iceland, this enchanting display reaches its pinnacle. To witness this cosmic marvel from the best spots, take this nighttime tour from Reykjavik.

2. Go on a low-tide adventure to France’s Mont Saint-Michel

Mont Saint-Michel emerges mysteriously from the sea, presenting a medieval marvel accessible solely during low tide. To fully appreciate this enchanting place in a single day, consider joining this group tour from Paris that navigates you through the island's quaint cobblestone streets, ancient archways, and concealed nooks in a single day—all with commentary in English.

5. Traverse Italy’s cliffside colors in Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre is an explosion of color adorning the Italian coast. In these five picturesque villages, the houses seem to actually cling to cliffs. To uncover the best of this charming destination's essence, a guided small-group or private tour from Florence is your passport to some of the finest gelato and the most breathtaking views in the country.

9. Live out your Westerosi fantasies in Dubrovnik, Croatia

For all you Game of Thrones enthusiasts, immerse yourself in the real King's Landing in Dubrovnik's Old Town. Take this comprehensive walking tour through its medieval streets and fortified walls to experience its historic charm, and you’ll understand why the popular show used the Croatian city as a filming location.

12. Explore the medieval marvel of Bruges’ Old Town in Belgium

Bruges, Belgium, is a picture-perfect town with cobblestone streets and historic buildings lining scenic canals. Experience centuries-old architecture, such as the Belfry and Lakenhalle (Bell Tower and Cloth Hall) and the Church of Our Lady; uncover hidden gems; and take a delightful canal cruise on this half-day tour of this enchanting medieval city.

13. Cruise through Norway’s fjord fantasyland of folklore

Norway’s majestic fjords are in a league of their own. Towering cliffs rise up out of crystal-clear waters, and waterfalls take the plunge from impressive heights. Cruising the Norwegian fjords is the ultimate way to soak in their grandeur, so navigate the UNESCO–listed Nærøyfjord, plus Flåm and Stegastein, on this day cruise from Bergen.

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