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11 of Europe’s best hotspots

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Europe is home to spectacular sights, but which spots truly score the winning goal? From the dramatic Norwegian fjords to the beautiful Douro Valley, we’ve rounded up the top strikers in our travel line-up.

Love it or hate it, football fever has taken Europe by storm, and the European Championships have just kicked off in Munich. With that in mind, it seems like the perfect time to celebrate our first choice 11 of Europe’s best hotspots, covering its azure Mediterranean islands, natural wonders, bustling cities, and most northerly corners.

1. Florence, Italy

Annoyingly good at football and also home to some of the world’s most sought-after destinations, Italy really excels at many things. Topping the list of its must-see cities is picturesque Florence, the cradle of the Italian Renaissance. A treasure trove of architecture, museums, and world-famous landmarks, Florence deserves a spot in all aspiring holidaymakers travel plans.

Recommended tour: Portofino, Florence & Tuscany

2. Athens, Greece

From the Italian Renaissance to the birthplace of classical civilisation, Athens is an ever-popular option for European travel – and for good reason. A truly dynamic city, Athens offers a blend of remarkable cultural sites and vibrant modern Greek attractions, all against the backdrop of some of the most striking vistas on the Aegean.

Recommended tour: Ancient Greece Uncovered

3. Sognefjord, Norway

Speaking of natural beauty, our next pick will always make the cut. A journey through Norway’s Sognefjord promises truly breath-taking vistas and charming alpine towns abound. If you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of the spell-binding Northern Lights!

Recommended tour: Beautiful Fjords of Western Norway

4. The Bay of Kotor

From Norway’s arctic waterways to the largest ‘fjord’ in Southern Europe, a surprising (and worthwhile) addition to any tour of the Dalmatian Coast is Montenegro’s Bay of Kotor. Despite being lesser visited than neighbouring Croatia, Montenegro is no less impressive with mountain landscapes drifting into its sapphire stretches of Kotor’s winding inland bays.

Recommended tour: Dubrovnik, Montenegro & the Dalmatian Coast

5. Porto & the Douro Valley

A dream destination for foodies across the world, the Douro Valley provides some of Portugal’s best local produce with golden fields and rolling vineyards dotting the neighbouring countryside. The region’s crown jewel, Porto, is no exception. Combined with bustling markets and a lively atmosphere, it makes for an excellent starting point to explore Portugal’s Costa Verde and the Douro River.

Recommended tour: Hidden Portugal

6. Andalucía, Spain

Though we may be cheating by picking an entire region, a holiday in Andalucía will have you spoilt for choice given the abundance of historic nearby cities waiting to be explored. Encompassing Spain’s southern corners, Andalucía promises a diverse range of Moorish landmarks, a rich cultural heritage – from flamenco-dancing in Seville to the birthplace of Tapas in Cadiz – and truly stunning views over its rugged landscapes.

Recommended tour: The Majestic Cities of Andalucía

7. Krujë, Albania

Lesser appreciated compared to its Mediterranean neighbours, Albania’s captivating national history and quieter, more authentic towns await off the beaten track. A particular highlight is Krujë, Albania’s former mountain capital, which the country’s lionised national hero, Skanderbeg, once called home.

Recommended tour: Classic Albania: Land of the Eagle

8. Dubrovnik, Croatia

Sticking with the Adriatic, no celebration of Europe’s top spots would be complete without Croatia and its ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’, Dubrovnik. Climb the imposing city walls for panoramic views over the fairy-tale streets below or enjoy a sightseeing tour of its most historic landmarks.

Recommended tour: Croatian Island Hopping

9. Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina

A short journey east brings us to our next top pick, Bosnia and Herzegovina, which showcases the best of the Balkans’ diverse cultural landscape. One of the best examples of this is Mostar, complete with a distinct blend of Ottoman and Slavic influences and its famous namesake bridge, Stari Most.

Recommended tour: Adriatic Coast: Dubrovnik, Neum & Mostar

10. Puglia, Italy

Though this is the second Italian entry on the list, Puglia feels a world away from what many travellers consider quintessential Italy. Embrace the unusual, innovative, and unique communities that dot the country’s southern ‘high heel’, from the Trulli houses of Alberobello to Matera, a city built into a cliff-face.

Recommended tour: Puglia & the South: Undiscovered Italy

11. Baltic Capitals, Estonia, Latvia & Lithuania

Back north now and our final European hotspot is actually a hat trick. Dotted along the Baltics, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more diverse, yet equally delightful, trio of capital cities with Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius offering unique cultural highlights, architecture, and an atmosphere which differs between regions. For a varied and deeply captivating tour, look no further than these Baltic gems.

Recommended tour: Baltic Capitals - Tallinn, Riga & Vilnius

Whether you’re feeling inspired by the Euros, or are desperate to escape the football, Europe’s most exciting corners await and you can find our full collection here.

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