Travel

20 Best Places to Visit in Europe

If you’re anything like us, your social media pages have been flooded with ads for great flight deals to Europe and they’ve gotten your wheels spinning. But with so many countries to choose from, how can you make sure you plan your perfect Eurotrip? We’re glad you asked! De-stress and get ready to scroll as you check out the best places to visit in Europe so you can plan a once in a lifetime European adventure.

Best Places to Visit in Austria

Traditional old-fashioned fiacre in Hofburg, Vienna, Austria
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Vienna

Recommended by Anne from Girl Chasing Sunshine

Also known as the ‘City of Music’ because of its musical history, Austria’s beautiful capital city is defined by stunning baroque architecture, cultural events, imperial traditions and an authentic coffeehouse culture experience.

Vienna’s musical and artistic legacy was shaped by famous intellectuals and composers, such as Mozart, Beethoven, and Sigmund Freud, who made the city their home. Today, Vienna boasts a lot of concert halls that stage opera and jazz concerts and music festivals, providing tourists a pulsating experience. If you’re in the area, hear the music at the State Opera or Musikverein.

Aside from the buzzing musical scene, Vienna’s roads are punctuated with pretty prefectures. From royal-imperial palaces to world-renowned museums, from charming buildings to works of art, Vienna is indeed a pretty city!

The heart of the historic centre is the Ringstraße, a circular boulevard lined with Vienna’s best-known sights such as the Imperial Palace, the Natural History Museum, the Austrian Parliament Building, and the Rathaus, among others. It’s a leisurely walk that any first-time tourist should experience. Another important historical monument in Vienna is the Schönbrunn Palace, the former imperial summer residence and one of Europe’s most breathtaking Baroque complexes.

For those who are coming into the city for an authentic Viennese Coffee House culture experience, Café Griendsteidl is the perfect place to start.

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Beautiful view of Salzburg skyline with Festung Hohensalzburg and Salzach river in summer, Salzburg, Salzburger Land, Austria
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Salzburg

Perched on the border of Germany, Salzburg is literally a tale of two cities. Separated by the Salzach River, on one side you’ll find the Old Town, an UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for its medieval buildings, and on the other you’ll love discovering the bustling New City and all there is to do.

Music lovers definitely need to have Salzburg on their list of the best places to visit in Europe because not only is it the birthplace of Mozart, but it’s also where The Sound of Music was filmed. If it’s possible to ever get tired of music, you’ll be happy to know that Salzburg is more than just music, as it has everything you need for an amazing vacation.

Whether you’re exploring the city or taking a day trip to experience the surrounding beauty, getting around Salzburg is going to be a breeze because of their public transportation system.

When it’s time for dinner, Salzburg satisfies everyone from the carb-lover to the gluten-free eater as top of the line restaurants are scattered throughout the city.

With picturesque views of the Eastern Alps, it has proven to be a nature-lover’s dream as well, as there are so many hikes and walks that you could never possibly do them all in one trip. After experiencing all that Salzburg has to offer, you’re sure to leave with a smile on your face and a song in your heart.

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Innsbruck cityscape, Austria.
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Innsbruck

Recommended by Linda from Travel Tyrol

Also known as the Capital of the Alps, Innsbruck is a city of contrasts in the Alpine province of Tyrol. From a tiny golden roof in the historic old town to the majestic Nordkette mountain range, there is always something to see and do for active nature lovers as well as culture vultures. If you are both, Innsbruck is heaven.

While the Golden Roof, a balcony from the 15th century adorned with 2,657 fire-gilded copper tiles, is the symbol of Innsbruck, other well-known landmarks include the Bergisel Olympic ski jump and Ambras Castle. The Hafelekarspitze, an Alpine peak, can be reached within an hour from the city center via the Nordkette cableway.

Or you can opt for an easy stroll from the triumphal arch down to the golden roof on Maria Theresa Street. The market square next to the Inn River, with its views of the mountains and a row of colorful old houses, is always a good place to end a day in Innsbruck.

Given its central location, Innsbruck remains one of the best places to visit in Europe, especially if you want to explore the rest of Europe. Italy, Germany, and Switzerland are only a short drive or train ride away.

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Scenic picture-postcard view of famous Hallstatt lakeside town in the Austrian Alps with passenger ship in beautiful morning light at sunrise on a sunny day in summer, Salzkammergut region, Austria
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Hallstatt

Recommended by Tripti from Live Free and Discover

Hallstatt is listed as an UNESCO World Heritage site and is one of the most beautiful towns in Austria. It is the perfect place for both adventure seekers and people looking for some relaxing down time.

Sitting right beside the most romantic lake in Austria, Hallstatt is home to about 900 residents. You can easily spend a day or two canoeing on the lake, biking around town and hiking to nearby mountains and glaciers. This little town can be crisscrossed on foot in 20-30 minutes while enjoying lakeside restaurants, street food kiosks, and many art and souvenir shops.

Also, when in the area, visit the oldest salt mine in the world called Salzwelten, which apparently has been in use since 70BC. A funicular railway takes you up the nearby mountain where you can explore this underground salt mine. Here you can take a guided tour to learn about the history, geology and process of salt mining.

There is also a lookout point in Salzwelten which has amazing views of the lake, surrounding mountains and the town of Hallstatt.

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Best Places to Visit in Belgium

Brussels, Belgium
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Brussels

Recommended by Collette from Roamaroo

With its rich history, lush landscape, Epicurean enchantments, and bountiful collection of beers, Brussels is a travelers dream. Its closest capital cities, Amsterdam and Paris, are both under two hours away, while Brussels is under 90 minutes away from the nearby Belgian towns of Bruges, Liege, and Namur. Brussels is a rather small town compared to its sister cities, therefore walking and cycling are terrific options for transportation. In addition to walking and cycling, there is a fantastic public train system that can take you anywhere you’d like to go around the city.

Skip the skinny jeans when you head to Brussels because it’s a city filled with Epicurean offerings. Spend your days biking or walking from friteries (restaurants dedicated solely to french fries!) to Belgian chocolate shops and spend your evenings enjoying local Trappist beers (beers made by monks) at La Porte Noir or Moeder Lambic and some mussels in Brussels at Chez Leon. However, despite all of the delicious delights in Brussels, the food that reigns supreme is the waffle.

Brussels waffles, known to Americans as the “Belgian waffle,” are best ingested at Maison Dandoy. This restaurant, dedicated solely to waffles, creates a wide variety of sugary selections including chocolate waffles, strawberry waffles, and waffles with whipped cream. To continue your adventure through candy land, head over to Laurent Gerbaud Chocolatier for bespoke, handmade chocolates.

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Grote Markt square in Antwerp, Belgium
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Antwerp

Recommended by Suzy from Wunderlander

Antwerp is known for its huge port, which is important to worldwide trade, and for being the home of baroque painter Peter Paul Rubens. But the second largest city in Belgium has more to offer.

This charming fashion metropolis has a population of around 500,000 and will welcome you with a big heart! Cool clubs and bars, a great food scene and many art locations attract open-minded people of all kinds.

Designers to-be from one of the many fashion schools run shows all throughout the year, which are always inspiring events. In the diamond district, there is a lot to see and an astounding 80% of the world’s diamonds are traded here.

Close to the diamond district is Antwerp Centraal, a beautiful old train station with lots of bars. Have one of the many great tasting Belgian beers and a Belgian waffle at the Grote Markt for dessert, take a historic boat tour on river Scheldt or visit Antwerp’s historic brewery De Koninck – you won’t get bored!

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Best Places to Visit in Bosnia & Herzegovina

Beautiful view on Mostar city with old bridge and ancient buildings on Neretva river in Bosnia and Herzegovina
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Mostar

Transformed into one of the most popular weekend destinations in the Balkans, Mostar will definitely leave an impression like no other place you’ve been. The city is highlighted by the UNESCO World Heritage Old City and Old Bridge.

Old Bridge not ring a bell? Maybe you know it as “Stari Most”, the iconic bridge exuding impeccable Balkan Islamic architecture as it spans the river Neretva. The “bridge keepers”, or the two fortified towers that protect it (the Halebija tower on the northeast and the Tara tower on the southwest), also deserve a visit and a climb.

Once you’ve taken all your pictures at Old Bridge, from street art to the Bruce Lee statue, you’ll find tons of beautiful and quirky things to do that’ll make you fall more in love with Mostar. Still housing some reminders of the Bosnian War, there are plenty of places that will impact you greatly with their stories. The Sniper Tower is one of those places. Used for snipers to easily spot their targets below, it is now decorated with street art and open for you to discover.

You can easily walk around and explore for hours enjoying historic Austro-Hungarian architecture, sitting by the river, swimming or even training for a jump from the bridge.

When the sun sets the crowds of tourists will disperse and the city will light up. When it’s time for dinner, take your pick of countless restaurants with beautiful river views, traditional live music and local cuisine. In addition, Mostar is great on the budget; just another reason why you should take time to visit this amazing melting pot.

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Best Places to Visit in Bulgaria

View of Veliko Tarnovo, a city in north central Bulgaria
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Veliko Tarnovo

Recommended by Daniela from Ipanema travels to…

Veliko Tarnovo is certainly one of the less known most beautiful cities in Europe. It has rich history – being a capital of Bulgaria in the period XII – XIV c., beautiful location – houses perched on hills and the Yantra River meandering through the city, and quite specific architecture, characteristic of the Bulgarian XIX c. Revival.

The most famous attractions in Veliko Tarnovo include: Tsarevets (the ruins of the fortress, the king’s palace and the church from the once glorious capital of Bulgaria); Gurko street; Samovodska charshia (a famous street with small shops selling antiques, crafts and souvenirs); the Multimedia Visitor Centre (a historical wax figure museum); the Archeological Museum.

Plan to stay at least a week to explore the city and its surroundings. A long weekend can also be a good option, but then you won’t be able to visit the various museums.

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Best Places to Visit in Croatia

The Old Town of Dubrovnik, Croatia
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Dubrovnik

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Often referred to as the Pearl of the Adriatic, Dubrovnik, Croatia is a traveller’s dream. The city sits on the coast of the Adriatic Sea in southern Croatia with a population that exceeds just over 40,000.

The city has become a summer hotspot for tourists, but it’s easy to see why it has become one of the best places to visit in Europe. The city’s Old Town is impressively preserved and sits protected by its high surrounding walls, which visitors can walk atop of for stellar views of the city and the turquoise sea. A number of islands are within reach for an easy one-day boat trip, or you can spend the day lounging on one of Dubrovnik’s picturesque beaches.

In addition to the warm beaches and stunning scenery, Dubrovnik is a foodie’s paradise. Restaurants in the area excel in dishes using locally-caught seafood and traditional recipes including lots and lots of meat. If you’re a wine lover, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the quality of wines available in Dubrovnik and the surrounding area.

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Stunning romantic old town of Rovinj with magical sunrise, Istrian Peninsula, Croatia.
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Rovinj

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Rovinj is a jumble of pale yellow and pink buildings perched on a peninsula in the Adriatic Sea in Croatia’s northern Istria region. Winding cobblestone lanes – crisscrossed with laundry hanging on the line – lead up to the hilltop of St. Euphemia Church. The soaring bell tower that pierces the sky is a symbol of the city – and the views from the top stretch all the way to Italy.

Along the rocky shore, the translucent sea splashes the coastline, which invites brave swimmers to dive in head first in the heat of the day. In the late afternoon, as the local fishermen head out to sea in hopes of a catch, people gather along the coastline to watch the sun sink into the horizon.

Scrumptious seafood is heaped on plates at sea view restaurants and family-run pizzerias hidden on small squares serve piping hot pies cooked in wood-burning ovens. The Italian influence is strong – and so are the truffles and local brandy, called rakija.

The historic core of the city is limited to pedestrian foot traffic, and bikes can be used to explore the nearby vineyards and parks. Rovinj exudes simple pleasures and a peaceful atmosphere of life by the sea.

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Split panoramic view of town, Dalmatia, Croatia.
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Split

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Split is often overlooked in favor of its showier and better known sibling, Dubrovnik. However, Split is so much more than just a pretty face with millions of adoring fans. Who, by the way, flood the tiny center of Dubrovnik every year making it difficult to fully appreciate the beauty in high season.

Split, on the other hand, feels more real and although it is attracting more and more tourists it still maintains a quieter charm and offers a real taste of Dalmatian life. In Split you can explore the historic center of Diocletian’s Palace, stroll along the modern Riva waterfront, relax at the sandy beaches, hike through Marjan Forest Park and eat at charming fresh seafood cafes or gourmet restaurants.

In other words, Split offers a little of everything and all at a still fairly reasonable price. Add to this the fact that Split is located perfectly for exploring other Croatian sights such as Hvar, Krka Falls, Plitvice Lakes National Parks, and Trogir, and it becomes a true winner, topping the list of the best places to visit in Europe.

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Town of Vis old mediterranean architecture, Dalmatia, Croatia
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Vis Island

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Vis, Croatia’s least known but most interesting island, was once Yugoslavia’s major naval base. Twenty-six years later, civilians have nurtured a delightfully low-key tourist island. There are military tours or you can get your 007 on and explore the island’s submarine pen all by yourself.

Ferries from Split tie up in Luka, the busy end of Vis harbour, and with the warships gone, sailing boats now invade each evening. Have a port-side drink while the mass moorings unfold, or stroll along the Riva, to the quieter village of Kut.

When it’s time to eat, you shouldn’t be surprised that fish dominate the grill, but lamb does too, with traditional Pekas and Italian-inspired risottos and pizzas. For a tasty addition to your meal, Vis pie is a pastry snack filled with a blend of anchovies, tomatoes, onion and black olives.

After the sun sets and you’re ready to explore the nightlife, one place you don’t want to miss is the 200-year-old Fort George. There you’ll dance the night away at open-air garden parties from 11 pm Tuesdays and twice weekly all-night yacht parties in August. It’s also an intriguing venue to visit by day.

You’ll never have to worry about where to stay because along with your choice of hotels, islanders have opened their houses and apartments to provide accommodation, with more than 300 places on offer.

Whether you come to relax at a restaurant on the beach or party in a hidden bay, Vis Island will invade your senses and make it difficult to sail into the sunset.

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Plitvice Lakes in Croatia
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Plitvice Lakes National Park

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With its breathtaking views, beautiful fauna and unique turquoise waters, Plitvice Lakes National Park is one of Croatia’s oldest and largest national parks. It was founded in 1949 and was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO 30 years later. This national park is located in the centre of Croatia (roughly 130km from their capital city, Zagreb), close to the Bosnian border. It is home to 16 lakes, all connected by a series of waterfalls and streams. Plitvice Lakes National Park is one of those national parks that are beautiful to visit in every season – you will be amazed whole year round!

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Best Places to Visit in Cyprus

Orthodox church of Saint Lazarus in Larnaca, Cyprus sunny facade with beautiful decorations and blue sky background with soft focus
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Larnaca

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The island of Cyprus could be summed up in one word as ‘biblical’. The country is steeped in history and the town of Larnaca has some stories to tell. It is said that the town of Larnaca was originally called ‘Kition’, as it was believed that Kittim, the great-grandson of Noah, had established the first settlement around 6,000 years ago.

Now Larnaca isn’t just a stopover the night before you fly! The bustling town has much to offer for a variety of travelers. History buffs will enjoy storming castles and feasting their eyes upon a 9th-century church, said to be the final resting place of Lazarus!

Thrill seekers will be in awe of some incredible scuba diving. As the MS Zenobia, a ship wreck that rests in Larnaca Bay, is said to be one of the best wreck dives in the Mediterranean.

And if that isn’t your cup of tea and people watching is your thing, then find a cafe on the promenade and tickle your taste buds with some local treats. No matter your preference, this little island is one stop not to be missed!

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Best Places to Visit in Czech Republic

View on the Old Town Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic
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Cesky Krumlov

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Its name means “crook of the river”, and when you view the fairytale town of Cesky Krumlov from the hills around the town, it is obvious how it derived its name.

Often overlooked in favor of a visit to nearby Prague, UNESCO listed Cesky Krumlov is too picture perfect to be ignored. It is a town that can be fully explored in a day and yet deserves so much more of your time.

The unique faux stone buildings appear as nothing out of the ordinary until it is pointed out to you that the effect is achieved with paint and not actually stone at all. In addition, the cobbled streets and lanes dare you to explore deeper as they curve through a perfect mix of pubs, coffee shops, restaurants and shops.

Cars are heavily restricted in the town which helps build the feeling that you have stepped back in time. Hire a private guide at the Information Centre on the town square to learn not only of the medieval history, but of life behind the Iron Curtain and how the town survived during and after communist control.

There are plenty of transport options to allow you to reach Cesky Krumlov from Prague, and you are truly missing one of the best places to visit in Europe if you don’t take the opportunity.

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Fountain in Pilsen, Czech Republic
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Pilsen

Recommended by Savvi from SavviScouts

Known as the birthplace of the Pilsner beer, Pilsen (Plzeň) is more than just a good beer. Just under 50 miles west of Prague, this Bohemian city has much to offer.

The hotels are cheap, the beer is flowing, and the sleepy Baroque-style Republic Square offers the perfect backdrop for a nice evening of food and drinks with your friends/family. Pilsen is like a smaller, more chill version of Prague.

If you only have one day, grab lunch at the Purkmistr or U Mansfelda, then chill out in the green municipal park ring before your tour of the Brewery Museum and the historic underground tunnel/cellar network (be sure to buy a ticket ahead of time – the English tours fill up fast!).

You go to Pilsen for the beer, but you’ll stay for the atmosphere.

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Public Square in Prague, Czech Republic

Prague

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Prague, Czech Republic’s beautiful capital, also known as Zlata Praha (Golden Prague), is one of the most charming cities in central Europe.

The majestic Prague Castle is overlooking the beautiful river Vltava that bends picturesquely through the city and can be crossed via 18 bridges. The most famous bridge is the iconic Charles Bridge. We highly recommend you come here either early in the morning or at sunset when you can enjoy a spectacular view of Prague Castle.

All year round tourists from all over the world are exploring this fairy-tale like metropolis with its maze of narrow cobblestone streets and historical buildings dated back as far as the 9th century. Visit Old Town Square where hundreds of visitors are rubbing shoulders to watch the hourly appearance of the apostles in one of the oldest astronomical clocks in the world.

Only a few blocks away from the busy tourist center that’s where you find hidden treasures like rustic pubs and restaurants with hearty meals such as pork roast or gúláš served with lots of gravy, bread dumplings, and sauerkraut. For people with a sweet tooth, palacinky, a thin pancake filled with whipped cream, ice cream, and fruit should be on top of your list.

Even though Prague has an extensive public transport system, the city is easy to explore by foot. So, put on your most comfortable walking shoes and wander the narrow streets.

Tired of exploring the magnificent historical sites? Well, a visit to Prague won’t be complete without tasting some of the traditional home-brewed beers, which are known as some of the best in the world. U Medvidku, U Fleku, U Kalica Original Svejk Pub and U Pinkasu are amongst our favorites for delicious beer, traditional rustic Czech cuisine, and welcoming atmosphere. One thing is for certain, the captivating and lovable city of Prague tops the list of best places to visit in Europe and will keep you coming back for more.

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The town hall and the central square in Liberec, Czech Republic
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Liberec

Recommended by Kami from My Wanderlust

While the majority of tourists visiting Czech Republic focus on Prague only, just a short hour drive away you can find a real gem that not many know about – Liberec. This beautiful Czech city offers a great mix of interesting history, beautiful architecture, a good culinary (and cafes!) scene and amazing nature around.

The most impressive place is the town hall, built at the end of the 19th century. From the outside it looks similar to the city hall in Vienna, but the interior will make your jaw drop – that’s how stunning it is! You’ll often see the Liberec town hall in movies, recently it is seen in “Genius” – a TV series about Albert Einstein.

One of the most pleasant things to do in Liberec is just walking around – the city has so many beautiful villas from the turn of the 19th and 20th century! Since the city is surrounded by Jizera Mountain, it’s super easy to hit the trail here and escape into nature.

If you’re feeling lazy but still want to enjoy amazing views, you can take the cable car to Jested Mountains from where you can admire a beautiful landscape of Czech Republic.

Liberec can make a great day trip from Prague, but it’s definitely worth it to stay there longer!

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Best Places to Visit in Denmark

Waterfall on faroe islands and the village Gasadalur in background
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Faroe Islands

Recommended by Eran from The Laughing Traveller

The Faroe Islands are a group of 18 islands in the North Atlantic located somewhere between Scandinavia and Iceland, just north of Scotland. It’s a remote destination but well worth it, as it was voted one of the top destinations by National Geographic in 2015.

The word “Faroe” means “sheep” in Old Norse, and once there you understand why it got this name 🙂 Beautiful nature with fjords and waterfalls that fall from cliffs to the ocean decorate the treeless landscape. At the end of practically every fjord lies a small village with turf houses and a church.

The gems of the islands are a few “unpronounceable” villages – 1) Mykines, which is located on an island by the same name, is reachable via a ferry or a helicopter. 2) Saksun – a 40-minute drive from the capital city. 3) Gjogv – a remote village on a neighboring island surrounded by scenic roads and fjords in every direction!

The islands are connected with a system of bridges and sub-sea tunnels, and driving is fairly easy, but watch out for the sheep. In order to reach the more remote islands ferries are being used.

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Best Places to Visit in Estonia

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