Over the years, LooknWalk has attempted to bring you our choices for destinations to visit each year. At the end of 2012, we talked about travel resolutions for 2013, while the next year we suggested 14 European Destinations for 2014 . We took a break but came back at the end of 2015 with the 16 European Destinations for 2016.
This year, we have enlisted the help of fellow bloggers to suggest 17 awesome European destinations for 2017. Check the list out and let us know if you plan to visit any of them and what you would add to the list.
Algarve, Portugal , suggested by Danielle from Boots not Roots
You haven’t experienced European beach culture until you visit the Algarve. From partygoers in Lagos, to birdwatchers in Ria Formosa park, to mini surfing villages in the Western Algarve there’s a scene for everyone. Staying in the central Algarve provides easy access to boat tours to see the famous Benagil cave, ample hiking spots, and a number of beaches to sip a cocktail and enjoy the view. You can’t go wrong in the Algarve soaking up the sunny days.
Athens, Greece, suggested by Chrysoulafrom Travel Passionate
Athens is one of the world’s oldest cities with a 6.000-year-old history. It is a modern city where the past meets the present and where many cultures have met over the years. The sky of Athens is dominated by the Acropolis, the symbol of the city. There are so many things to do in Athens.
The history lovers will find many archaeological sites and museums scattered around it. Athens is a great place for shopping as well from open-air markets to shops selling traditional products and high-end boutiques. Another reason to visit Athens is to taste the local gastronomy and enjoy the vibrant nightlife. For those who would like to admire the city from above, there are many vantage points to do so like the Lycabettus Hill and the Filopappou Hill. During the summer months, the visitor can also head to the southern suburbs and the Athenian Riviera and swim in one of the free beaches or enjoy a night by the sea. Athens is a fascinating city all year round and a must visit destination for 2017.
Azore, Portugal , suggested by Nathan from Foodie Flashpacker
The Azores is a collection of nine volcanic islands belonging to Portugal that are located in the North Atlantic Ocean halfway between Europe and the United States.
Dramatic cliffs with ocean spraying on the rocks beneath, volcanoes to climb, seemingly never ending fields of green, whale watching, and world class diving are just some of the reasons to consider visiting the Azores this year.
Also, Pico Island produces some of the most amazing wines I’ve ever tried. The island contains UNESCO-designated historical vineyards, which are unique because of their black volcanic earth. The wineries are best known for their production of white wines.
The islands are just now becoming a popular tourist destination so the time to go is now.
Azores, Portugal – Ponta Delgada, suggested by Jen Ambrose and Ryan Victor from Passions and Places
We got engaged in the Azores, so these islands hold a special place in our hearts – but it’s also an objectively great travel destination and a nice alternative to mainland Europe. The islands are cheaper and less crowded than much of Europe, and they’re full of beautiful scenery, cool street
art, and great hiking.
The picturesque capital of Ponta Delgada, located on the main island of São Miguel, is laid-back and super walkable, with lots of little cafes serving up espresso, pastries, and local bread and cheese. Because the island is small, it’s an easy drive or motorcycle ride (both can be rented) from Ponta Delgada to many of the highlights: the twin lakes at Sete Cidades, the hot springs at Furnas, and Gorreana Tea Plantation near Maia. And in case you thought it would be hard to get to, the city is serviced by short, cheap flights from both Western Europe and the East Coast of the U.S.
Bordeaux, France, suggested by Jennifer Dombrowski & Tim Davis from Luxe Adventure Traveler
Bordeaux, named as Lonely Planet’s best city in the world to visit in 2017, definitely earned that distinction. I might be a bit biased since I call Bordeaux home, but the stunning neoclassical city and gateway to one of the most famous wine regions in the world should definitely be on your Europe bucket list.
It’s a city that not only will make wine lovers feel as though they’ve died and gone to heaven, but also a city that foodies will love eating their way through. Combine some of the best wine and food France has to offer with gorgeous streets reminiscent of Paris on a smaller scale and plenty of outdoor adventures from hot air ballooning to kayaking on the Garonne River, Bordeaux is the French city for every type of traveler.
Ettal, Germany, suggested by Natalie from Cosmos Mariners: Destination Unknown
If you haven’t visited Ettal, Germany, you need to start planning a trip for 2017! An easy ride from Munich, Ettal is nestled at the base of the Bavarian Alps. It’s a small town, but it has plenty to do in and around it. Marvel at the excesses of the Baroque architecture inside Ettal Abbey’s sanctuary, and sample a few of the beers that are brewed on property. Next, walk through the town to search for a quick snack and the perfect souvenir. Spend the rest of your day just outside of the town at one of King Ludwig’s castles, Schloss Linderhof. The main building is the smallest of Ludwig’s castles, but the interior is decorated for royalty. If it’s a nice day, make sure to wander through the grounds for some spectacular pictures of the nearby Alps.
Georgia , suggested by Johann from Escapinglife
A small country tucked away in the beautiful Caucasus region of Europe and Asia. This is where the continents collide and where the East meets the West. To its north lies Russia, to the South, Turkey and Armenia, Azerbaijan to the East and the Black Sea to the West. The country as seen a lot of history unfold and has been the flashpoint of many wars and battles throughout the centuries. It is even famous for the most ruthless dictator in history.
It’s rich cuisine and culture is a fantastic fusion of European, Persian, Arabic and the Mediterranean yet preserves something unique of its own. It’s most important contribution to the world is its wine as old as 8000 years.
On the banks of the Mtkvari River lies Tblisi, it’s largest city that serves as the capital and is slowly emerging as one the most sought after tourist destination in Europe. From the old cities to the towns, the high mountains of Europe to the green rolling countryside and it’s energetic nightlife, this is truly the “Balcony to Europe”, the “Country of Life”. This is Georgia! If you are headed to Europe, then start here!
Ghent, Belgium, suggested by Alison from CheeseWeb
Bustling canal-side cafes, towering church spires, quirky shops filled with unique items, and Michelin-starred cuisine; all with a fraction of the tourists of nearby Bruges. Where is this European wonderland? It must be Ghent, Belgium.
Ghent is just as picturesque as its more famous neighbor but feels more like a living city, rather than a museum frozen in time. The medieval architecture has been restored and maintained, and everywhere you look there’s another postcard view of the old town. Ghent’s university and vibrant student population mean it’s constantly evolving. The food scene is excellent and diverse, even for vegetarians (a rarity in this part of Europe). There’s plenty here for visitors and locals alike.
Ghent is also easy to get around on foot. In fact, it has the largest pedestrian-only center in Belgium. There are a wealth of museums here covering all periods of art and history. And, of course, we can’t forget a visit to the famous castle.
Ghent is the perfect city for a day-trip or a weekend break. In fact, there is so much to do there you’ll find yourself going back again and again.
Ljubljana, Slovenia, suggested by Lyn & Steve from A Hole in my Shoe
Few cities have left such a big impression on us than Ljubljana. This wonderful city really endears itself with its large green spaces, charming architecture and choice of quality restaurants and cafes. Traffic is restricted in the main city center and along the banks of the Ljubljana River making it a very walkable city. From almost any part of the city you can catch glimpses of Ljubljana Castle. There is a funicular to travel up to the 15th century castle if the walk is too strenuous. The castle has been restored in part and completely modernized in others. The former glory and provenance of the castle has been carefully blended with modern lines. Many of the buildings in the city area show the patina of age and wear showing crumbling plaster and strong character. Apart from Ljubljana Castle must see places include Preseren and Republic Square, Dragon and Triple Bridge, Cathedral of St Nicholas and Central Market all within a nice easy stroll.
Lucca, Italy, suggested by Katy from Untold Morsels
If you are keen to discover more of Italy’s Tuscany region why not visit the beautiful city of Lucca in 2017. Lucca is a compact city with a rich cultural heritage that sometimes gets overlooked by visitors to Italy but it is a wonderful place to explore if you like Italian art, architecture, wine and cuisine.
Stay within the walls of the city and enjoy wandering through the narrow streets that open onto grand piazzas lined with cafes and dominated by beautiful churches. A favorite activity is hiring bikes to ride around the city walls that were converted into a pathway in the 17th century. From the fortifications you appreciate the beauty of the medieval towers that rise above the city that is also famous for opera and Tuscan cuisine.
A small medieval city with plenty of charm, Lucca is also an ideal base to explore Pisa and the Tuscan hills
Oporto , Portugal, suggested by Julianna from The Discoveries Of
Oporto is very much a destination du jour, and quite rightly so. The combination of grand Portuguese architecture, delicious cuisine and of course, port, is a winning one. Before I visited, the only thing I really knew was that it had an impressive bridge and was the home of port. What I found was a beautiful city with a rich history and an understated nightlife scene. The food is great. Splurgers should book a meal at The Yeatman, which has just won its second Michelin star, while the more budget conscious should grab a spot at Camafeu, a restaurant built to resemble a local’s living room.
Paphos, Cyprus , suggested by Dora from Trip Experiences
Paphos (Pafos) is a beautiful coastal city in the southeast of Cyprus and the birthplace of Aphrodite, the Goddess of love and beauty.
Its a modern city that offers a lot, from the beautiful harbor, the ancient sites, fortresses, theaters, lovely beaches and nightlife – mixing modern with history. Ff you are looking for a place to relax, looking for sun and beach, a place to explore and learn some amazing history then Paphos is the place to be.
The history of this beautiful town dates back more than 9 thousand years, from the Stone Age, to the roman times, Byzantium until today. There are a number of sites which have been declared as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
PS: Pafos is the European Capital of Culture for 2017
Piran, Slovenia, suggested by Liza & Pepe from Tripsget Travel Blog
Slovenia is becoming more popular from year to year and not without a reason: in this country, you can find mountains, fortresses, amazing lakes and even access to the Adriatic sea. I would definitely recommend you going to the coastal town Piran in 2017 – it’s really wonderful. Piran totally looks like Italy with its Venetian-style architecture, but at the same time, it’s way cheaper and far less crowded than Italy. It’s absolutely great for a weekend getaway from April to October! And in case you get tired of Kiran, you can go exploring Croatia and Italy, because they are really close to Piran!
Prague, Czech Republic, suggested by Rishabh from Gypsy Couple
Prague, the city of spires is full of myths, folklore and culture so rich, it will leave you enchanted. A lot of people go there for the beer, some go their to see the world famous Astronomical clock and yet some for the absinthe bars. However the city is so much more than the sum of its parts, with its narrow cobbled lanes , the gorgeous Charles bridge and some of the prettiest churches in Europe. There are weird museums and dancing houses and a wall dedicated to Lennon and if you needed an even more compelling reason, there’s a beer spa. Case closed.
Santorini, Greece, suggested by Ashlie from A Kiss Life
Picture stark white buildings against a sea of blue. Breathtaking sunsets and sunrises. Couple it with a relaxed and friendly atmosphere and you have Santorini, the ideal choice for a European break. Your options are endless when you step onto this island paradise, from basking on a beach in the glorious weather or sampling the regions fresh seafood. But maybe relaxing on a sun bed all day and taking in the views isn’t your cup of tea? Never fear! Santorini has a vibrant nightlife which will cater to any taste. Each night Santorini delivers something different. Spend your evenings wandering around food markets sampling Greek delicacies or exploring the stalls and shops for souvenirs and trinkets. The many bars and lively restaurants in the area have you covered for those evenings of sampling cocktails, dancing and socializing with the friendly locals. Santorini will leave you tanned, refreshed and feeling like you just stepped straight out of a postcard.
Tuscany, Italy, suggested by Andrew from Pygmy Elephant
As the saying goes, “Italy is never a bad idea”. In my opinion, that is never more true than in Tuscany. It’s on the tip of all romantics’ tongues. It has a certain allure created through a rich history of wine making, beautiful landscapes and Hollywood production. Florence is most decidedly the jump off point for most trips into Tuscany and with the Academia, the Uffizi and the Duomo, its beauty is rooted in existential thought. Head off into the rolling hills of Chianti, say to the butcher of Panzano, then the things you’ll fall in love with become more tangible – the chianti classic DOCG, the small hamlets you pass on the way perched like small green bubbles in a sea of gold and even the bistecca sustainably raised from the butcher himself. These a just a few “good ideas” of why you should visit Tuscany in 2017, but I bet you will find many more once you’re there.
Zermatt, Switzerland, suggested by Angie from Travel Moments
Zermatt is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen in Europe . It’s a car-free village and you can only get there through one of the most scenic train rides in Switzerland. This town is elevated to around 1,600 meters from the ground and lies below the iconic Matterhorn. It is a municipality in the district of Visp in the German-speaking section of the canton of Valais in Switzerland. People come here to hike, ski or take Europe’s highest open-air cog railway that runs from Zermatt station to Gornergrat. This railway has existed for already 100 years. A breathtaking ride with stunning views of snowcapped peaks until you get to the top of the Matterhorn. The best thing about Zermatt is how laid back it feels. People are walking around, lots of activities and picturesque sceneries all around.
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