Australians are always so isolated from the rest of the world, so travelling is a perfect way for us to connect with what’s beyond the Land Down Under.
One of the eternal fascinations for all Australians is Europe – a continent full of history, art, good food and breathtaking sights.
There are thousands of European destinations worth your attention, but these 10 are definitely the cream of the crop:
1. Amsterdam, The Netherlands
You might come from liberal Australia, but the amount of freedom you can enjoy in Amsterdam is astounding.
Of course, this city is known for coffee shops where you can enjoy marijuana and buy different cannabis products, as well as the notorious Red Light District, but there’s so much more to this city than these controversial places.
You’ll be blown away by all the canals and all the cyclists, so try to join them and navigate the city on two wheels.
Set at least one day aside to visit all the museums like Van Gogh Museum, Rembrandt Museum and Anne Frank Museum.
2. Swiss Alps, Switzerland
When was the last time you’ve seen and touched snow? Well, the Swiss Alps in winter will definitely scratch that itch.
The Swiss Alps is the perfect destination for winter sports and snow lovers, and you can spend your days skiing, snowboarding or hiking through the area.
In the evening, discover picturesque little towns nearby and enjoy some of the best and most heartwarming food (cheese fondue anyone?) and the tastiest chocolate.
3. Prague, Czech Republic
This is another perfect winter destination. Prague is an old and dramatic city full of towers, historical buildings, museums, monuments and other interesting things, but at Christmas time, it all comes alive with soft cheer, human warmth and holiday spirit.
If you’ve always been jealous of the Europeans for their white Christmas, visit Prague during the happiest season of the year and enjoy a true winter fairytale.
What was once a country unknown to most is now a new ‘it’ destination for travellers who are looking for beautiful beaches, plenty of sailing opportunities, lively cities, dramatic mountains and luxurious villas, all wrapped in one small destination.
The shining star of Montenegro is Porto Montenegro, a beautiful investment complex with a marina that is already luring yacht-owners away from classic destinations like Monte Carlo and Cannes.
The bars, restaurants, boutiques and spas are full almost year-round but one can still find plenty of luxurious long-term lettings in Montenegro if you want to stay there over the drab Australian winter.
It’s a perfect place for longer stays because the diversity is wonderful, and you can’t expect to be bored here even after super long vacations.
5. Santorini, Greece
If you’re an Australian living somewhere near the coast, then you’re more than familiar with pretty beaches and refreshing water, but what Australia doesn’t have is Santorini’s iconic volcanic landscape, dramatic cliffs and picture-perfect whitewashed buildings rising over the sea.
Santorini is all about strolling the streets, tasting local wine, enjoying the freshest salads in the world and taking plenty of photos for Instagram.
6. Venice, Italy
The only people who are not 100 per cent impressed with Venice are those who have already been there.
If you’re a first-time visitor, expect to be left breathless by Venetian canals, architecture, winding streets and opulent eateries.
And let’s not forget that it is a food lovers’ dream, offering the best in pizza, pasta, cheese and wine.
7. Barcelona, Spain
Every part of Europe is full of history, art and beauty, but Barcelona has a special charm that multiplies all those wonderful things by a hundred.
What sets apart this city from other European destinations is definitely its unique architecture. Thanks to Antoni Gaudi and his recognisable style of building, many spots in Barcelona are instantly iconic.
Sagrada Familia, Parc Guell, Palau de la Musica Catalana, Las Ramblas, Boqueria Market and Gothic Quarter buildings are just some examples of attractions that are unlike anything found in Australia.
8. Berlin, Germany
Australians are famous for the wild party spirit, but Berlin is the capital of hardcore techno partying that lasts for days.
When there, be sure to explore the city’s museums, monuments and impressive parks, but set aside some time for exploring its nightclub scene.
The world’s most famous nightclub Berghain is open (including the dark rooms) from Friday midnight to Monday morning.
9. Istanbul, Turkey
Australians are no strangers to the diversity of people, but Istanbul is a true melting pot of religions, nationalities and identities.
This is a place where you can see historical mosques next to 21st-century skyscrapers and supercars parked in front of the Grand Bazaar market.
Here, you’ll get a chance to explore rich religious history and architecture and enjoy the bustle of one of the biggest cities in Europe.
10. Reykjavik, Iceland
Iceland may be isolated, but it is precisely this reason that makes this island unique. Nowhere else in the world can you see beautiful waterfalls next to active geysers on top of dramatic cliffs that rise above black sand beaches.
If you love diving be sure to try the very unique experience of diving between the continental plates in Silfra, or if you happen to visit between October and March, you might even see the elusive Northern Lights!
If you’re looking to travel to Europe, make sure to start chipping away at this list of must-see destinations.
MORE OF EUROPE: Inspired by this list and want to consider more European destinations for an upcoming trip? Take a look at our travel guides for Lake Bled in Slovenia, Innsbruck in Austria, Porto in Portugal, Positano in Italy, and Madrid in Spain.