If you’re coming to Europe for the first time, there are some unmissable experiences you can’t do anywhere else, that really should be on your European bucket list.
The ‘travel’ part of going away always seems like wasted time before you can actually start your vacation, so why not make ‘getting there’ part of the experience? Take a train through the channel tunnel, travelling in style on the Eurostar. You’ll be taking the ‘chunnel’ that runs under the sea between the London and Europe, travelling for 23 miles directly under the sea and, at its deepest point, 246 ft below sea level.
If you’re travelling between London and Paris, Brussels or Amsterdam, you can hop on the Eurostar from the city center and arrive in the center of your destination city, in less time than it would take you to fly.
No Parisian bucket list worth its salt would miss out a trip to the top of the Eiffel Tower. The iconic structure offers stunning views across the Paris skyline and, if you time your visit with sunset, it's possibly one of the most romantic spots in the City of Love.
This dark and atmospheric tour takes you into The Catacombs, that spread over 200 miles under the streets of Paris. This network of tunnels, lined with the bones and skulls of long dead Parisians, lead to secret rooms, hidden sculptures and crypts. Take a guided tour to find out more about the eerie history of this unique and strangely beautiful place.
There is so much glorious art in the Louvre it would take you months to see it all. From the modern angles of the Pyramid, to the classical architecture of the Sully Wing, every room is overflowing with history, art and culture. The Mona Lisa is on everyone's list but there's plenty more to see, so give yourself lots of time.
There can't be many cathedrals in the world so famous they have a novel, a film, a Disney animation and a musical named after them! The awe-inspiring Gothic interiors, soaring arches and jewel-coloured stained glass windows guarantee Notre Dame a place on any bucket list.
Due to a recent fire, the cathedral will be closed until further notice.
The Hall of Mirrors at Versailles gives new meaning to the expression 'over the top'. There's so much gleaming gilt and ornate furniture throughout the Palace, you may need to wear your sunglasses! The gardens and water features are sublime and it's only 45 mins from the center of Paris by train.
For royal pomp and pageantry take a trip to Buckingham Palace, the official residence of the Queen, to watch the Changing of the Guard. Come rain, shine or heatwave, the Queen's Guard turn out to parade up and down in front of the Palace in their iconic bearskin hats. Definitely one for the bucket list as you won't see anything like it elsewhere.
Don't worry if the Ritz is out of your price range, there are plenty of other places in London where you can have a delicious, traditional British afternoon tea. Try scones with jam and clotted cream (the jam should go on first - that's how the Queen does it), delicate sandwiches with the crusts cut off and fancy iced cakes. You'll have a choice of teas, but Earl Grey or Assam are apparently favourites with HRH.
Music lovers will know the iconic Abbey Road crossing from the Beetles album cover. take a trip to this North London street and see it for yourself. While you're there, head to the Abbey Road Recording Studios and sign the graffiti wall - you'll be in good company. Watch yourself crossing the road in the Beetles footsteps on the webcam later.
There is something for everyone at this medieval building. History buffs will love the prison tower and the gory stories of its previous occupants. Bling lovers can gawp in awe at the Crown Jewels and children can have fun while they learn about history through interactive exhibits, games and quizzes. You can even get your photo taken with a Beefeater and the Ravenmaster.
There are plenty of high buildings in London where you can get great views of the city, but few are as good as the London Eye. Set on the South Bank of the river, the Ferris Wheel is perfectly positioned for views along the river, the main landmarks on the river, as well as the London skyline. It can be very busy so you may want to avoid the lines with a skip-the-line ticket.
Fans of art will not want to miss this museum which houses the largest collection of works by Van Gogh in the world. You can see The Sunflowers, one of his most famous paintings, up close along with hundreds of other works by the artist and his contemporaries. The building itself is pretty impressive, designed by Gerrit Rietveld in the 1960s, and completely renovated 2013.
If Amsterdam is famous for one thing, it would have to be its canals. There are 62 miles of waterways covering over a quarter of the surface area of the city so, if you want to see Amsterdam, a boat trip around the canals is the best way to do it. There are plenty of options from cheese tasting cruises to hop on hop off trips allowing you to stop and explore along the way.
For the whole month of April Tulips take over the streets of Amsterdam in a riot of colour.The Keukenhof Gardens are a great place to go see the flowers as every year they plant over 7 million bulbs, in preparation for the festival. You can also take a trip out to the flower fields, just 30 minutes from the city to see the spectacular sight of the flowers planted in lines in the fields, like massive rainbows.
The Bloemenmarkt is the world's only floating flower market and, whether you're a horticulture fan or not, is worth a visit for the explosion of colours and scents. Pick up some packets of seeds to bring home and give as gifts. Plant them in your garden or in window boxes so when they're in bloom you'll remember your trip to Amsterdam and be transported back to the banks of the canal.
Beer lovers can learn the 'right' way to drink beer, while culture vultures can find out about the brewing process throughout history in the original Heineken brewery building. There are lots of different interactive experiences along with games and sports related activities to enjoy. Serious beer connoisseurs may want to do the VIP tour with a private tasting in the rooftop bar.
Image credits: © Shutterstock; © Aurelia Havez; © Musée du Louvre; © Shutterstock; © walter_g / Shutterstock; © Alamy; © The Ritz; © Claudio Divizia / Shutterstock.com; © Shutterstock; © Lukasz Pajor; © Eurostar; © Elise Morel; © Keukenhof Gardens; © Getty; © Shutterstock