Europe has! As well as the birthplace of democracy in Athens, the Forum of Rome, the renaissance buildings and art of Florence, the graceful canals of Venice and the Napoleonic grandeur of Paris, there’s always the less expected sites such as the Moorish palaces of Andalucía, the remains of one of the Seven Wonders of the World in Turkey, the majesty of a second Venice in St Petersburg and the haunting buildings of Auschwitz in Poland.
But Europe is far from limited by its extraordinary heritage. The continent leads the world in fashion, art, music, architecture and design; just see the street styles and music scenes of London and Berlin, the ground-breaking design in Antwerp, Copenhagen and Stockholm or the amazing displays of contemporary art, well, just about everywhere.
Glorious scenery your thing? Try out the awesome fjords of Norway, the stunning scenery of the Scottish Highlands, the volcanic dramatics of Iceland, the breathtaking Alps of France, Switzerland and Italy, and the lesser-known mountains of Spain, Slovenia, Southern Poland and Slovakia. For beach life you can fight for some sand on France’s Côte d’Azur, Spain’s Costa Brava or Portugal’s Algarve, or – far more enjoyably – discover your own pristine beach in Albania, Bulgaria or on the gem-like islands of Greece and Croatia.
So don’t delay – get planning your own European odyssey. You can start by browsing our list of the best things to do in Europe and downloading our free 10-page 'Europe Essentials' PDF .
Want to get more specific? Zoom in on specific places within Europe.
If you're ready to go, check out our flight deals and hotel reviews for the continent.
And, if you need more inspiration, be sure to view our extensive image and video library for Europe and dive into the Thorn Tree's Europe branches, where the world's most experienced travel community unearths all the continent's secrets.
The largest air travel hubs in Europe are, in order, London , Frankfurt , Paris , Madrid , and Amsterdam which in turn have connections to practically everywhere in Europe. However, nearly every European city has direct long-distance flights at least to some destinations elsewhere, and other smaller airports can make sense for specific connections: for example, Vienna has a very good network of flights to the Middle East and Eastern Europe, while Helsinki is the geographically closest place to transfer if coming in from East Asia.
The Trans-Siberian Railway from Beijing and Vladivostok to Moscow is a classic rail journey. Also after the finalized construction of a railway link between Kazakhstan and China, the Historic Silk Road is becoming increasingly popular with adventurers, trying to beat down a new path, this new Almaty - Urumqi service runs twice per week, and Almaty is easily reached from Moscow by train. Other options include several connections to the middle east, offered by the Turkish Railways (TCDD). There are weekly services from Istanbul via Ankara to Tehran in Iran, and Damascus in Syria, as well as a sketchy service to Baghdad.
It is still possible, but expensive, to do the classic transatlantic voyage between the United Kingdom and the United States. The easiest option is by the historic, and only remaining Ocean Liner operator, Cunard Line, but expect to pay 1000-2000 USD for the cheapest tickets on the 6 day voyage between Southampton and New York done around 10 times per year in each direction. If your pockets are not deep enough for this price range, your only other options of crossing the North Atlantic are pretty much limited to Freighter travel.