The Top Five in Europe

In the travel industry world we all know who the Big Five are, but it occurred to me that you probably do not.


When Americans consider exploring beyond our own shores the #1 destination for us is London.  I have been fortunate to visit London on several occasions and have to say it blew me away each and every time.

London is home to over 150 museums, four UNESCO World Heritage Sites (Palace of Westminster and Westminster Abbey, Tower of London, Maritime Greenwich, and the Royal Botanical Gardens), and 230 theaters.  You can even catch a Shakespeare play in its authentic Elizabethan glory at the Globe Theater and don’t forget to marvel at panoramic sites from the London Eye.

Paris as you can well imagine comes in at #2.  Paris is my favorite city on earth.  Paris offers glorious wide avenues that are incredibly pedestrian friendly, gorgeous architecture, over 300 museums, and of course the Eiffel Tower and Champs Elysees, who could resist the temptation?

Have you stared into the smile of the Mona Lisa, gazed adoringly at the Venus de Milo, or cowered under the power of Winged Victory of Samothrace?  No trip to Paris is complete without a few hours in the Louvre.  With over seven miles of corridors and literally millions of exhibits, a day, a week, or even a month spent here will not disappoint.

#3 on our list is the eternal city of Rome.  I’ve been able to tour Rome several times, and each and every time found something new to love about this historic city.  There are 25 centuries of history within the gorgeous squares and mazes of streets and alleys.  The eight museums within the Vatican Museums offer four miles of rooms and galleries.   

The must see attractions are the Colosseum, the Forum, the Vatican (including St. Peters and the Sistine Chapel) and of course the Pantheon.  For a taste of local flavor add Piazza Navona and your trip to Rome can be deemed a success.   

#4 on our list is the always fun, friendly, fabulous city of Dublin Ireland.  I love Dublin, and you will too.  Dublin was founded by the Vikings along the river Liffey, and Dubliners (as well as all Irish) simply love Americans.  Top attractions include the Guinness Storehouse, Trinity College (home to the book of Kells), Glasnevin Cemetery, and the Kilmainham Gaol.  Don’t miss an evening of fun and folklore in the oldest pub in Ireland, the Brazen Head Pub.

#5 on our list is Madrid Spain.  The gorgeous capital city of Spain is centuries old, is home to over 60 museums featuring the works of artists such as Picasso and Salvador Dali (the Prado is the best of the best in Madrid), and an opulent 16th century Royal Palace.  Always begin your tour of Madrid in the Plaza Mayor, people watching and sipping their strong espresso.  Don’t forget to include the Puerta del Sol, and the Cibeles Fountain. 

We’ve only touched the surface of things to see and do in the top cities of the world.  You could literally spend weeks, if not years, investigating these historic places.  Next week I will continue on to some of the lesser known, equally enchanting cities of Europe.

With incredible offers to Europe in 2018 and into 2019 now is the time to prioritize your bucket list and head over to Europe.  There’s never going to be a better, more affordable time to go.

Joy Gawf-Crutchfield owns and operates The Joy of Travel. Contact Joy at 918-339-4805