6 unique experiences in Europe you need at least one


With a rich cultural heritage, stunning natural landscapes and diverse experiences, Europe has a lot to offer the traveler. With such a wide range of amazing things to experience, creating a “to-do” list can seem like an impossible task. But fear not! I have compiled for you a list of my favorite European travel experiences, which I hope will inspire you to think outside the box and make your trip even more special.

From exploring the catacombs of Naples to dating Dracula’s castle in Romania, or viewing a wealth of 20th-century art in Venice, there’s something for everyone on this list. So, let’s start packing some lifetime experiences.

1. Northern Lights

Finnish Lapland

Seeing the ethereal Northern Lights in Finnish Lapland is definitely an unforgettable experience. Located on the Arctic Circle, Lapland is one of the best places in the world to see the lights. They are also known as the Northern Lights – a natural phenomenon when charged particles from the sun collide with those in Earth’s atmosphere, creating a stunning display of colors and patterns in the night sky.

Finnish Lapland is one of the most amazing places you can visit. While you’re here, visit Santa to see if you’re on his naughty or pretty list, see the reindeer, try a husky sleigh, try skiing or snowshoeing, sleep in a glass igloo, and enjoy a traditional Finnish experience Saunas, of course, turn their eyes to the sky in hopes of catching a glimpse of the magical Northern Lights.

In Lapland, the Northern Lights are visible from late August to early April, and the best time to see them is during the darkest months of the year, November to February. It’s important to find a location with clear skies and minimal light pollution and make sure you have your camera ready. Nobody warns you, you usually can’t see them with the naked eye, and most photos of the Northern Lights are taken with special camera settings and long shutter speeds. Also, keep in mind that most phones shut off when they’re cold.

Pro tip: In northern Lapland, the northern lights are visible about 200 nights a year, while in southern Finland they are only visible about 10-20 nights a year. Take a Northern Lights tour to help you get the best views.

2. Fontanelle Cemetery

Naples, Italy

Home to some 80,000 human skeletons, mostly skulls, is Fontanelle Cemetery, which bustles the streets of Naples. It is an old quarry that became a cemetery in 1656 when the plague wiped out the city’s 250,000 inhabitants, and again during the cholera epidemic in 1837, when Fontanelle became the main cemetery in Naples.

In the 19th century, cemeteries became overcrowded, and the bones of the dead were moved to caves, where they were placed on shelves. In the early 20th century, the cemetery became a place of devotion for the poor of Naples, who believed that the spirits of the dead could intercede on their behalf. The cemetery is maintained by a group of women known as “pezzentelle” who care for the skulls and pray for their souls.

Visiting the Cimitero delle Fontanelle is free and offers an opportunity both to learn more about the history of Naples and to experience the eerie beauty of the catacombs.

Pro tip: Ignore the somewhat pushy guides at the entrance to the cemetery. Instead, book your trip well in advance if you don’t want to be alone.

3. Glaciers

Svalbard, Norway

Norway’s Svalbard is a beautiful and remote archipelago deep in the Arctic Circle. The region is known for its vast expanses of snow, majestic mountains and stunning glaciers. Visitors can marvel at the gigantic glaciers – an otherworldly blue – pouring down the mountain and into the icy waters below. The sound of creaking ice and frozen landscapes stretching as far as the eye can see will leave a lasting impression on anyone lucky enough to witness the majesty of Svalbard’s glaciers.

Despite its remoteness and extreme conditions, Svalbard is a remarkable place and a popular destination for adventure travel. It features dog sledding, snowmobiling, and glacier hiking, as well as the Northern Lights, which can be seen here from October to February.

Svalbard is also home to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault , the world’s largest secure seed storage facility where seeds from around the world are stored to prevent the loss of plant species in the event of a global disaster.

Pro tip: Book an expedition ship, such as Quark Expeditions’ Ocean Adventurer , to get up close and personal with glaciers, fjords, icebergs, and more.

4. Bran Castle

Bran, Romania

Bran Castle in Romania’s Transylvania region dates back to the 14th millennium and is known as the home of the infamous vampire Count Dracula, a fictional character created by Bram Stoker. A fine example of medieval architecture, the castle uniquely blends Gothic and Renaissance styles, and its towers, turrets and battlements give it a dramatic and imposing appearance. Inside, visitors can explore the castle’s many rooms, including the eerie dungeon where prisoners were once held.

Bran Castle has an impressive collection of medieval arms and armor, as well as artefacts from the region’s cultural heritage. Another unique feature of the castle is the torture chamber, which displays various medieval torture devices. The models are accompanied by drawings and horrific descriptions of how they will be used. (You have to pay a little more to get into this part of the castle, and if you’re a little sensitive you might want to skip it.

Whether you’re a history buff, or just a fan of horror stories and vampires, a visit to Dracula’s Castle can be a great experience.

Pro Tip: As one of Romania’s tourist hotspots, expect the castle to be busy year-round. In summer, the entrance lines can be very long. To avoid long lines, arrive early, or book a tour that offers a skip-the-line ticket option. Most people who want to visit Bran Castle base themselves in Brasov, a popular ski resort and hiking town in the Carpathians. It’s only a 30 minute drive from Brasov to Bran Castle, which you can visit from here , including Bran Castle and Peles Castle (one of the most beautiful castles I’ve ever seen). If you’re pressed for time and can’t stop in Brasov, day trips from Bucharest are easy.

5. Art along the Grand Canal

Venice, Italy

The Grand Canal is Venice’s main waterway and one of its iconic landmarks. On the banks of the Grand Canal is the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, a modern art museum housed in the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, a magnificent 18th-century palace.

The palace was originally designed by architect Lorenzo Boschetti, but was never completed to his specifications. Various owners have made changes and additions to the building over the years, resulting in an eclectic mix of architectural styles and a stunning example of Venetian architecture. Its location along the Grand Canal makes it one of the most scenic and picturesque buildings in Venice.

Peggy Guggenheim purchased the incomplete building in 1949 and lived there until her death 30 years later. Her room is filled with her vast collection of modern and contemporary art, including works by Jackson Pollock, Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso, Max Ernst, Joan Miro and Alexander Calder work. The building’s interior is as impressive as its exterior, with ornate staircases, frescoes, and intricate details throughout. The galleries of the museum are spread over three floors.

Pro Tip: You can visit the Peggy Guggenheim Collection with My Special Venice Card , a digital card valid for 365 days that allows you to visit some of Venice’s most extraordinary cultural sites at reduced prices .

6. Princes Islands

Istanbul, Türkiye

The “Princes’ Islands” ( Adarar in Turkish ) are a collection of nine small islands in the Sea of ​​Marmara, just a short ferry ride from Istanbul’s Kabatas Ferry Terminal. Of the nine islands, only four are open to the public: Büyükada (the largest and most popular), Burgazada, Heybeliada and Kınalıada. The islands are known for their stunning natural beauty, charming villages and unique history, with many buildings dating back to the Ottoman era. The islands are largely car-free and famous for their horse-drawn carriages ( phaetons ), a visit really feels like stepping back in time.

The Princes Islands have grown from a place of Byzantine-era exile to a popular destination for tourists and Istanbulites looking to escape the busy city. Each island has its own unique character and attractions, from the beautiful beaches of Viukada to the tranquility of the secluded sea of ​​Villada. In Büyükada you’ll find grand old mansions, secret swimming coves and colorful local markets, and one of the main attractions is the historic Greek Orthodox St. George’s Monastery, dating back to the 6th century. Walk up to Usetepe, the highest peak in Bjukada, and you’ll enjoy stunning views of Istanbul on the horizon.

Pro Tip: Both regular ferries (operated by Şehir Hatları ) and “sea buses” ( fast ferries operated by IDO ) will take you to the Princes Islands. The sea bus is the fastest option but runs sporadically, focusing on locals commuting to and from get off work, stopping at all islands and takes about 55 minutes. Regular ferries are slower (can take up to 100 minutes), but are cheaper and depart more frequently. Make sure you catch one of the first ferries of the day to beat the local crowds, and check when the last ferry back to Istanbul when you arrive. Alternatively, take a day with lunch .

I hope I have inspired you to explore some of the special places and experiences that Europe has to offer. I wish you a pleasant journey!

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