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Traveling in Europe for the first time: 12 major cities


Europe is a great destination for budding travelers. Especially if you are traveling alone for the first time, Europe is the perfect place to start. This part of the world offers a new culture, language, and cuisine in every corner. In addition, Europe has a very good and reliable public transport system that makes travel easy and comfortable.

For many travelers, Europe can seem like a rather expensive destination. However, there are many ways to save money on a trip, and a rich and interesting program will not let you get bored and leave only the best impressions.

Our list of cities includes the most popular destinations in Europe – you can go here at any time of the year, even in winter, these cities can be very interesting. Especially if you are a fan of cultural events, museums, and exhibitions, there are many options for a great time. Another plus of traveling in autumn or winter is low prices for accommodation and air tickets, lack of crowds of tourists, cool air and a romantic atmosphere.

  1. London, UK
    Even though the UK is no longer part of the EU, London is still a great city to start your European exploration and one of the most interesting cultural centers in the world not to be missed.

If this is your first visit to London, then it is best to stay here for at least three nights to see all the fun. Don’t miss iconic sites and landmarks such as Tower Bridge, Westminster and Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, and the bustling Piccadilly Circus.

London can be a bit dull in winter due to gray and rainy weather, although if you like cozy interiors there are some great bars and cafes to hide from the rain.

  1. Paris, France
    A visit to Paris is every girl’s dream, and believe me, it will not disappoint you. There are many endless walking areas, the most popular being Montmartre, Le Marais, and Saint-Germain. If you are interested in Parisian culture, you can take part in a pastry lesson in Paris. This is a great way to learn how to make French desserts yourself and have a good time.

The best way to get to Paris is by train or plane. But it should be borne in mind that the airport may be located far outside the city, in order to get to the main attractions, you will have to spend at least a couple of hours on the bus. Therefore, in some cases, it is better to buy a train ticket. This has its advantages, in addition to the fact that most of the stations are located in the center, you can admire the surrounding landscapes all the way. Also, the train is still considered the safest transport in the world.

If you are visiting Paris for the first time, then we recommend that you go to all the iconic places of the city – see the Eiffel Tower, visit the Louvre and take a walk along the River Seine using our route.

  1. Amsterdam, Netherlands
    There is a fast train between Paris and Amsterdam, which will take you between cities in less than 3.5 hours. You can also make a short stop in Brussels – another wonderful city in Europe and spend a few days exploring Belgium. If time permits, then you can have time to visit several of the most striking cities at once – Bruges, Ghent, and Antwerp.

Now a little about Amsterdam itself. The capital of the Netherlands is renowned for being a cultural hub full of fun, whimsical facades, and 17th-century architecture. In the beginning, Amsterdam is famous for its canals, red-light district, and cycling culture. Amsterdam is also a great destination if you are traveling alone. There are tons of Airbnb accommodation options to choose from if you’re looking for something a little more local or less expensive. Yes, the prices for accommodation in Amsterdam are quite high, but this can be compensated by the presence of inexpensive bars and restaurants where you can find a large selection of cheap snacks and drinks during happy hours!

  1. Berlin, Germany
    Berlin is a youthful and lively city that never sleeps. If you take a direct long-distance train between Amsterdam and Berlin, you can reach the German capital in just under 6.5 hours. If your budget is limited, go for a walk in the city center on your own, or stay in a regular hostel, which is here a lot, and the quality of the accommodation is at a high level.

Visit the Reichstag, the main historical monument since the Great Patriotic War, stroll around Gendarmenmarkt square surrounded by magnificent 18th-century buildings, cruise along with the River Speer and Lanverkanal to see the city streets from different angles. All this can be easily accommodated in 2-3 days, it is best to see the sights on your own – public transport is well developed, you can get everywhere by metro or bus, so there is no need to book a city tour. And with the money saved, it’s better to head to one of the many beer bars in the city – and beer in Germany is not only great but also cheap!

  1. Munich, Germany
    Even being in the same country, the distance from Berlin to Munich is pretty decent. The average train ride will take 7 hours 15 minutes, and the fastest will take 6 hours 15 minutes. You can skip Munich and head to Prague, or visit Prague first and then Munich. Or you can explore the German countryside and stop in small towns along the way.

Many travelers make Munich a stopover on their journey for the famous annual Oktoberfest (which actually takes place in September). Whether you come to the festival or not, Munich has a huge beer hall all year round, which has the same atmosphere, only there will be much fewer guests in the city!

  1. Prague, Czech Republic

Prague is a favorite of many first-time travelers in Europe due to its unique combination of architecture, vibrant nightlife, and relative accessibility. Over the past 5-10 years, Prague’s popularity has skyrocketed, so there is always a crowd here at any time of the year.

Prague is best explored on foot, especially if you are visiting the city for the first time. The Old City is full of secret lanes and nooks to explore on your own, so be sure to grab a map, a glass of coffee, and take a stroll through the medieval streets. The Jewish Quarter is a great place to start exploring the endless supply of antique shops offering a glimpse into the past.

  1. Vienna, Austria
    The train is the best way to travel between Prague and Vienna. Eurocity is the most efficient, travel time is 4 hours 25 minutes. It departs approximately eight times a day, in both directions.

Vienna is a beautiful city offering a kind of history lesson. Make sure to set aside one day or at least half a day to explore Vienna’s best coffee shops and experience life through the prism of time. These famous coffee houses have a rich history and were once the center of academic thought during the Age of Enlightenment.

Another thing to do in Vienna is to visit the Vienna State Opera. If you want to save some money, you can choose the cheap standing side door seats at night. The Opera House is also open throughout the day for small guided tours, which last about 40 minutes and allow you to learn about the history of the famous and iconic theater of its time.

  1. Budapest, Hungary
    Budapest has long been considered the most underrated capital in Europe, but nowadays it is a must-see and is now incredibly popular. You can get to Budapest from Vienna by train, the journey takes about 2 hours.

Budapest is full of great experiences that you won’t find anywhere else in Europe. Don’t forget to stop by the Széchenyi Thermal Baths to experience spa culture and public thermal baths. From there, travel to the top of Castle Hill for views of the city and learn about its royal history. Fisherman’s Bastion is another beautiful place to admire the city from above.

  1. Krakow, Poland
    Krakow is the most beautiful city in Poland. Despite its beauty, Krakow is famous for visiting the concentration camps of Auschwitz and Birkenau, which provide a terrifying yet realistic view of the dark history of Europe during Nazi Germany.

The trip from Budapest to Krakow is quite long, about 8-10 hours on the way, so you can make a short stop in Slovakia.

  1. Rome, Italy
    Now take a plane to Rome, the capital of Italy and the eternal city of the world. There is no place as breathtaking and totally surreal as Rome. The Italian capital is full of hidden secrets, so be sure to spend at least a few days here to explore the city on foot. Rome has some great rooftop terraces and bars. Locals love to keep these places a secret, so be sure to research all Tripadvisor recommendations ahead of time.

If most of your trip takes place in Italy, be sure to discover Florence, Pisa, Venice, and the Amalfi Coast. A few other places in the countryside that deserve to be praised include San Gimignano in Tuscany, Lake Como in the Lake District, Cinque Terre, and Positano on the Amalfi Coast.

  1. Barcelona, Spain
    There are only a few cities in the world that are as cheerful, vibrant, and calm as Barcelona. The capital of Catalonia, Barcelona has a reputation as one of the most beautiful cities, it has its own unforgettable atmosphere and, having been here once, will definitely want to return.

If you think that all the sights of Barcelona are very expensive, then this is not so, or rather, not entirely true. The city has many objects and entire historical quarters that can be viewed almost for free.

If you’re an architecture aficionado, don’t forget to take a self-guided tour of Gaudí’s architecture in Barcelona. From there, head to the lively El Born area, where you can mingle with the locals and stroll through the city’s most popular bars.

The best way to get to Barcelona is by plane: Ryan Air and Easy Jet offer cheap flights from different destinations in Europe.

  1. Lisbon, Portugal
    Last but not least, one of the most beautiful capitals and one of the most underrated: Lisbon! Summer is the best time of the year to explore the capital of Portugal. The city is easily accessible – the local low-cost airline Tap Air Portugal often sells tickets at very low prices several times a season.

Magnificent architecture, all kinds of historical sights, a large selection of routes for one-day trips – here you can definitely spend your time with benefit and pleasure. It is worth noting that Lisbon airport is located almost in the city center, so even if you have only a small transfer, you can manage to get to the main street of the city to walk through the most iconic places of the capital and dine in street restaurants.

If you are visiting for a few days, then be sure to make a day trip to Sintra and Cascais, two beautiful small towns near Lisbon that can be reached in one day. Be sure to stop by Belém on the way to sample the world-famous Pastel de Nata (Portuguese quiche).