The Perfectly Quintessential European Bucket list

  • Brooke Saward
  • May 6, 2017
Quintessential Europe - The Big Bad Bucketlist
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I don’t know about you but I love a cliché. When I think of Europe I think about sipping an aperol spritz in the summer sunshine, riding a donkey through the hills of a remote Greek island or eating so many warm, flaky croissants that I almost turn in to one. Europe is full to the brim with clichés and I for one cannot wait to be a part of them with each and every annual quest to my all-time favourite continent. If you’re anything like me then you have arrived at the right place for a perfectly quintessential European bucket list. Here we go!

Ride on a gondola in Venice

When you think of Venice you think of canals, water, and singing gondoliers. Sure, there’s more to Venice than initially meets the eye, but the first time visitor need only come with one goal in mind: see and experience as much of the city as possible from the water. Begin with a gondola ride for the quintessential Venetian experience, later upgrading to the (much) less expensive water taxis or even more local ferry network. With so much to see and history practically staring you in the face, Venice is a city that deserves a bucket list in itself!

Read more: Postcards from Venice

Drink beer in Belgium

Although there are many reasons to visit Belgium, drinking beer has got to be in the top 10. Along with waffles and frites, Belgium has a few claims to fame worth taste testing and there could be no better way to wash them down than with a local brew!

Read more: 12 Reasons to Visit Belgium

Ride a bike through Amsterdam

If there’s one thing I remember most from my first trip to Amsterdam at twenty years of age, it is the amount of close calls I had walking in to, away from, around, and waiting for cyclists. This city is a death trap waiting to happen for anyone who pauses for a moment and stops paying attention! But as they say, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em! Be sure to hop on a bike and see the city from the streets, meandering through small alleyways and through neighbourhoods on the cusp of the city.

Read more: Amsterdam Bucket List

Eat churros

Is there anything more Spanish than a decent portion of street stall churros!? These deep fried goodies are best lathered in sauce (you can’t go past dulce de leche). You’ll find them all over Europe at street stalls luring you in with their sugary aroma!

Read more: Barcelona Tapas Tour

Make friends with a stranger(s)

One thing I never thought would be easy when travelling solo was to make friends and meet people from all walks of life. I soon discovered that not only was it easy, but also one of the greatest rewards travel brings. Now having friends in all corners of the globe – from different races, religion, cultures, beliefs… I have learned to shape my own. Now that’s something they can’t teach you in school!

Read more: How blogging gave me thousands of friends around the world


Visit a castle or twenty

One castle, two castles, three castles, floor. While I won’t say the same for churches, somehow the fascination with castles just never seems to rub off on me and I could keep exploring the myths and legends of each castle for as long as I live. Luckily for me, Europe is an absolute mecca when it comes to castles (and LOTS of them!)

Read more: In search of Europe’s Best Castles to Visit

A Walking Guide to Prague | World of Wanderlust

Get gloriously lost in Prague

Ask anyone where they would recommend you visit in Europe and I can assure you 9 times out of 10 you will be told not to miss out on Prague. The Czech capital brings together many eras, ideas, and most noticeably, architecture. Look one way for gothic influence, look another for medieval marvels and before you know it you have walked through centuries of history in one compact Old Town.

Read more: A Walking Tour of Prague

Eat Gelato in Italy

This list would never be complete without mention of gelato (and a photo of one of my favourite stores on the Amalfi Coast, for good measure!) Eataly, as I’d prefer to call it, is full of great gelato no matter where you find yourself in the country and I’d almost say with certainty that this is a time honoured tradition itself (eating the stuff, that is!)

Read more: Where to find the best gelato in Italy

Get Artsy in Vienna

Vienna is hands down one of Europe’s prettiest city, if not THE most. Imperial and imposing, Vienna has so elegantly stood the test of time. One of the major highlights of this city is the expansive art collections on offer from the ages, particularly for attendees of the Belvedere. You also can’t miss the chance to see living art in the flesh at Hundertwasserhaus.

Read more: Vienna Bucket list

Budapest_Hungary Budapest_Solo_Travel

Realise how cool Budapest is

“Europe” and “cool” are often two words you will read together, but none more so than in reference to the capital of Hungary. Although Budapest is well and truly discovered by every sense of the word, there’s still an under the radar appeal that never seems to leave this city. If I could choose anywhere to live as an expat in all of Europe, Budapest would be an obvious first choice.

Read more: Budapest Bucket list

Go to Poland

If what’s cooler than being cool is ice cold, then Poland, you are daaaaaamn frosty (literally and figuratively). This country is one of the “must visit” Eastern European destinations for a number of reasons, but especially for its ability to capture, freeze, and honour its history. I first visited Poland eight years ago, travelling only to Krakow. Since then I have been back to visit the capital, Warsaw, which I think flies totally under the radar (and provides a realistic glimpse in to communism in Eastern Europe).

Read more: Spotlight on Warsaw, Poland

Brasov_Romania Draculas_Castle_Romania

Go further east than Poland

The only thing cooler than going East is going more East, and by that I mean discovering the likes of Romania, Ukraine, Russia, and many more! So many of my favourite places in Europe are in the East and the more isolated they are, the more interesting they become. If you haven’t yet visited Romania, this should be near the top of your list, especially if you love vampire myths, mysteries, and spooky castles!

Read more: 8 Places you Must visit in Romania

Complain about the price of Copenhagen

As much as I love Copenhagen, I love to complain about the price of it more. I’m almost certain this would have to be the most expensive city to visit in Europe (no research to back my claim but an empty wallet to show for it). This should by no means stop you from visiting, but you will thank me later if you go by the “less is more” mantra and visit for just a couple of days.

Read more: Copenhagen Bucket list

Go yachting in Croatia

Yachting the length of Croatia in the summer time has become a right of passage in itself. The success of “yacht week” and seasonal yacht trips throughout the season are a combined result of the beauty of Croatia, affordability and luxe approach to a European summer. Does it get any better!?

Read more: 10 Things you Must Do in Croatia

Attend Oktoberfest

As surprising as it is, Oktoberfest in the South of Germany begins mid-September and runs through to the beginning of October… and for beer lovers, there really is no better time to visit Munich! Be sure to allow a few days in the South of Germany whilst you are here, especially if you’d like to make a day trip to the likes of Neuschwanstein Castle (arguably the prettiest castle in all of Europe!)

Get ripped off at least once

If there’s one thing you can’t always avoid when travelling throughout Europe its a rip off (or four!) Whether it be paying too much, being short changed or the old “you’re so beautiful, take this red rose” trick… don’t be afraid to be fooled at least once!

Stand in the Red Square

Perhaps the single most impressive architectural display in Europe is Saint Basil’s Cathedral in the Red Square, Moscow. The mid-16th century basilica is symbolic of a visit to the Russian capital and can’t be missed!

Read more: Moscow Bucket list

Get more Stylish in Stockholm

If there’s one thing I knew about Stockholm before my arrival it was that this is one of the most (if not THE most) stylish cities in the entire world. Street style could said to have been invented here, so do yourself a favour and dress to impress.

Read more: Top 10 Things to do in Stockholm, Sweden

Row a boat on a lake

Another quintessential experience in Europe and one of my favourite memories from my time in Slovenia is to row a boat on a lake and make a lunch trip out of it. Lake Bled in Slovenia would have to be one of my top picks, but the ethereal appeal of Hallstatt in Austria is also hard to pass up!

Read more: This may be the most romantic lake in the world

Rent a vespa in Italy

ABSOLUTE. MUST. DO. The most Italian I have ever felt in my life was our day riding a vespa along the Amalfi coast, stopping in at every town we passed for gelato, pizza, and an espresso before we hit the road.

Read more: Renting a vespa on the Amalfi Coast

Eat carbs in Italy

Speaking of, you really can’t go to Europe without visiting Eataly. Think gelato, pizza, pasta, and all of the good things you can only get away with eating in excess as a teenager (baaaahumbug!)

Read more: 15 Foods you Must try in Italy

Bike ride from Vineyard to Vineyard in France

One of my favourite cities in France pitched itself as the centre of wine country, offering vineyard – to vineyard bike rides (yes, I’m talking about Beaune!) Since then I have also ridden through the vineyards of Alsace and I’m convinced this is a sure way to feel instantly French!

Take photos of someone’s washing (at least once)

I could make a photo album with the amount of “washing” photos I snapped on my first few trips to Europe (the novelty has since worn off – sigh).

Read more: A complete guide to Lisbon, Portugal

Eat street food in Barcelona

I’m convinced La Boqueria is Europe’s best street food market and if you find yourself in Barcelona, you absolutely cannot pass up the opportunity to visit. Think fresh juices, sweets, fruits, and just about anything you feel like in the Mediterranean summer heat.

Read more: Barcelona Bucket List

Positano_Amalfi_Coast Positano_World_of_Wanderlust

Wake up in Positano

These photos say it all. If you visit just one coastal destination in Italy, make it Positano.

Read more: A Quick Guide to Positano 

Stay in a French Chateau

Paris has my heart, but the French countryside is where you’ll find my soul. For the perfectly quintessential French experience, be sure to check in to a French chateau, purchase a bottle of wine, throw out a picnic rug and let sunsets turn to sunrises. Bliss!

Read more: Staying in a French Chateau

Visit more castles in Ireland

If there’s one thing Europe is not running short of, its a castle. Ireland has a lot to offer the countryside lover (two hands in the air over here!) and castles are in abundance.

Read more: 8 Places you must visit in Ireland

Catch the Hogwarts Express

STOP EVERYTHING BECAUSE THIS IS REAL! You read correctly, you can actually ride the Hogwarts Express. Jump on board in the Scottish Highlands and let your imagination run wild.

Read more: All Aboard the Hogwarts Express!

Visit the real Hogwarts Great Hall

Still within the UK (but unfortunately not at the other end of your train journey) is Hogwarts itself. There are oodles of Harry Potter filming locations in the UK, but one of the most realistic filming locations is the Great Hall, located in Christ College, Oxford.

Read more: Oxford Colleges to Visit

Eat nutella on something, everything!

Yep, so, crepes. Crepes, crepes, crepes.

Finland | World of Wanderlust

Play with reindeer in Lapland

Finland isn’t often on a first time visit to Europe, but there’s no reason it shouldn’t be! Imagine feeding reindeer in Lapland, trudging through the snow and living in a real life Chronicles of Narnia!

Top Free Things to Do in Berlin, Museum Island

Rent an apartment in Berlin

As much as I enjoyed Berlin, I enjoyed it much more when I lived there for a few months. Berlin is a great city for expats who want to base themselves in Europe.

Drink vodka in Russia


What could be more Russian!? Besides, this is a great way to meet and mingle with locals who, perhaps unsurprisingly, become a lot more chatty after a vodka or two!


Swim in the Algarve

One of my favourite Mediterranean locations is Portugal’s Algarve and for shoulder season destinations, you can’t really beat it.

Read more: The Algarve, Portugal’s most loved holiday destination

Ski in Switzerland

Expenses aside, Switzerland is home to some of the most beautiful ski slopes the world over. If the price puts you off, consider cheaper alternatives like Austria or Poland, especially if it means extending your stay on the slopes!

Read more: A Guide to Zermatt Switzerland

Paris in Spring Paris in Spring | World of Wanderlust

Visit Paris in the Spring

Every year I make the annual pilgrimage to Paris in the Spring. Be it for the cherry blossoms in April or the excitement that builds in May heading toward the summer, there really is no better season to visit my all-time favourite city (especially because you can eat both ice cream and hot chocolate in one day without overthinking it!)

Read more: Paris in the Spring

Hermitage Museum St Petersburg | World of Wanderlust

Step inside the Hermitage museum


Read more: A Quick Guide to St Petersburg, Russia

Eat Pizza in Naples

Naples, the birthplace of pizza, is an unmissable stop en route to the Amalfi Coast (if even for the pizza alone).

Read more: Where to find the best pizza in Naples

Take 1200 photos of the Eiffel Tower

If you hadn’t read this, I dare say you wouldn’t have even realised yourself doing it! There’s just something so magical and moving about the tower which, despite initial controversy, has become the symbol of Paris.

Gain weight from French Pastries

Need I say more? From macarons to mille feuille, there’s a whole world of pastry out there to discover, so you’d better get busy!

Florence | World of Wanderlust Florence | World of Wanderlust

Step back in time in Florence

Before I travelled to Europe at 17 years old, my only friend who had visited before me told me right before I left “you absolutely must go to Florence”. Although I hadn’t planned to visit, I made sure we visited for a day trip from Rome, and instantly I saw the allure in how Florence appears to have been frozen in time.

Read more: 20 attractions you must see in Florence

Flam Norway | World of Wanderlust Guide to Alesund Norway | World of Wanderlust

Burn through your savings by visiting Norway

Although one of the most expensive countries to visit in Europe, there’s no denying that Norway is one of the most beautiful countries to visit for outdoorsy adventure seekers. From hiking to kayaking and everything in between, there’s a lot to discover!

Read more: The cities and towns you must visit in Norway

Island hop in Greece

Last but nowhere near least (saved to last because I still haven’t done it myself!?!?) is to go island hopping in Greece. Early 20-somethings eat your heart out, Greece is a playground with your name on it and nearly a right of passage for your first Euro-trip! From Mykonos to Santorini there are endless islands to explore in Greece, many of which you’ve never heard of until you get talking to a local.



Quintessential Europe - The Big Bad Bucketlist

Brooke Saward

Brooke founded World of Wanderlust as a place to share inspiration from her travels and to inspire others to see our world. She now divides her time between adventures abroad and adventures in the kitchen!





    May 27, 2017

    90% of this list are things that I dream of doing! The other 10% are new things that I can add to my list! There is nothing wrong with following along with the travel cliches- there is obviously a reason for the cliche! Thanks for sharing! x



    May 18, 2017

    Gorgeous photos!



    May 17, 2017

    So much of this list are things that I would happily do. It makes me happy to know that I have easy access to Europe and that I can tick many of these items off my list 🙂



    May 17, 2017

    I can’t wait to see the sleeping beauty castle in Germany and play with reindeer in Finland!


    Danielle Theriault

    May 15, 2017

    My favorite thing to do in Italy is eat gelato for breakfast….. and then wash it down with 3 slices of pizza. Yummo! |


    Venedik Gezilecek Yerler

    May 14, 2017

    This is a beautiful list, my favorites would have been Gondola ride at Venice and yachting in Croatia, and I would also add a dinner at the sunset on one of the villages of Cinque Terre too.



    May 11, 2017

    I have done only 6 of these :(. Still many on the list.
    Great post, thank you



    May 11, 2017

    You know what I love most about exploring castles (and stately homes for that matter)? The idea of there being secret passages in the rooms/hallways I’m standing in. I love the thought of stumbling upon a hidden room or a hidden stairway at random! So yeah, that’s one of the reasons why castles have always fascinated me and why I keep going back 🙂

    Also, making friends with strangers is an absolute travel must!!


    Naukri Exam News

    May 10, 2017

    Thanks a lot for sharing this incredible knowledge with us.



    May 10, 2017

    I am even more excited now to visit Europe this summer!!! Amazing photos xoxo


    hotmail sign in

    May 9, 2017

    I have never been to Europe, I really want to go there once



    May 9, 2017

    What a great list! Still so many things to do : )

  13. Brooke Saward

    May 9, 2017

    best. comment. evaaaaaa.



    May 9, 2017

    Can you even Italy without gelato?


    Careers station

    May 9, 2017

    I love this web so please keep posting , thanks


    Taste of France

    May 8, 2017

    The motto of the story is: you can’t go wrong in Europe with so many ways to go right!



    May 8, 2017

    Looks like a place full of adventure but also quiet! We would like to visit soon. Pictures are exceptional..!



    May 8, 2017

    Omg there are literally so many things to do on this list that I need to add to mine! Although (surprisingly) í’ve already done a lot of them ahaha, all of the food related ones in Italy are HIGHLY recommended. I’m going to look more into visiting Romania, your pictures look fascinating & for once it looks like something a little bit different.



    May 8, 2017

    All sugestions are super~! but “eat nutella on something, everything!” it’s the best way to spend time in every town in Europe! Great arthicle, super pics! Thank you..


    the adventurer

    May 8, 2017

    All of these are amazing! I love that you added my home city Prague =o) And Oktoberfest is a must!! Loved going to it =o)



    May 8, 2017

    Wow! What an amazing and long list! Some of these things I’ve done, and some I’m wishing to do soon after reading this post!! Great ideas!

    Ana X



    May 7, 2017

    Loved this post Brooke!
    And totally related to what you said about Copenhagen. Though I loved the city and look forward to return, it was the place in Europe I felt like the poorest.
    Next time you come back to Portugal, make sure to visit Sintra. I’m sure you’ll want to include it in this “bucket list” 🙂


    Tanja (the Red phone box travels)

    May 7, 2017

    great list! I’ve done a few things:)



    May 7, 2017

    So many things to do and to see! I love this list, it will help me add a couple of things on my bucket list as well!



    May 7, 2017

    THIS IS AMAZING! I thought I would’ve ticked off a few more than I have buuuuut that just means there’s excuses to go back! The reindeers are GORGEOUS xxx



    May 7, 2017

    Impressing list. Obviously I have some things to do before I can call myself an european expert! 🙂


    Laura Yackel

    May 7, 2017

    All of that food looks so good. Now i’m hungry. XD



    May 6, 2017

    Great list! Glad to see Poland on your list as it was a pleasant surprise when we travelled there 2 years ago! Pinned this for future reference1


    Leah | Nomad'er the Distance

    May 6, 2017

    Love this! I’ve ticked off a few of these on a visit to Italy but Europe is one continent I feel the need to explore a lot more of.



    May 6, 2017

    Sidenote: torino is very close to milan and wayy more exciting and beautiful! And less touristic because less people know it, but i would recommend torino way more then milan!



    May 6, 2017

    There is even a real thing in italy called eataly!! I live in torino for one year and i dont know if they only have it here in torino. Its an supermarket, very big, where you can also buy already prepared thinga and eat them right away. The special thing about eataly is that its all slow food. Slow food is a concept in torino. Its the opposite of fast food. We even have an fastfood slowfood restaurant thats sort of a wink to mac donalds its called mac bun. Slow food is food thats prepared with care and has very good quality. Italians love it because they care a lot about their food. Torino even has a slow food festival once a year. You really shoukd visit torino once because next to this cool concept we have the best chocolate of italy, gianduia. Were the chocolate capital. Its amazing and also there amazing piazza’s (squares) a lot of nice palaces and two amazing basiliques/ chruches on top of hills with the mlst amazing views of torino and the mountains behind it!


    Juliette | Namastay Traveling

    May 6, 2017

    Amazing pictures and experiences..I was hoping the list would never end! I’ve only seen a couple of these, but so many more were just added to my list!

  33. Brooke Saward

    May 6, 2017

    Hi Jay, I have been too busy to be reading lately – hence putting book club on hold! Will pick it back up again when life slows down – but between publishing my book and opening two businesses, the past 6 months have been too crazy!



    May 6, 2017

    Brooke….gorgeous photos and memories……..but what has happened to the book club? I ever get any news about it now. Has it folded?



    May 6, 2017

    Love it! Always looking for more things to add to that never-ending bucket list ahaha xx

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