1. Salzburg (Austria)
Salzburg (Austro-Bavarian: Såizburg; literally: "Salt Fortress") is the fourth-largest city in Austria and the capital of the federal state of Salzburg. Salzburg is on the banks of the Salzach River, at the northern boundary of the Alps. The mountains to Salzburg's south contrast with the rolling plains to the north. The closest alpine peak—the 1972 m Untersberg—is only a few km from the city centre. The Altstadt, or "old town", is dominated by its baroque towers and churches and the massive Festung Hohensalzburg. This area is surrounded by two smaller mountains, the Mönchsberg and Kapuzinerberg, which act as the green lungs of the city. Salzburg is approximately 150 km east of Munich, 281 km northwest of Ljubljana, and 300 km west of Vienna. Around 15 BC the separate settlements were merged into one city by the Roman Empire.
2. Ghent (Belgium)
Ghentis a city and a municipality located in the Flemish region of Belgium. It is the capital and biggest city of the East Flanders province. The city started as a settlement at the confluence of the Rivers Scheldt and Lys and in the Middle Ages became one of the largest and richest cities of northern Europe. Today it is a busy city with a port and a university. The municipality comprises the city of Ghent proper and the towns of Afsnee, Desteldonk, Drongen, Gentbrugge, Ledeberg, Mariakerke, Mendonk, Oostakker, Sint-Amandsberg, Sint-Denijs-Westrem, Sint-Kruis-Winkel, Wondelgem and Zwijnaarde. With 237,250 inhabitants in the beginning of 2008, Ghent is Belgium's second largest municipality by number of inhabitants.
3. Dalmatia (Croatia)
Dalmatia (Croatian: Dalmacija, see names in other languages) is a historical region on the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea. It spreads between the island of Rab in the northwest and the Bay of Kotor in the southeast. The hinterland, the Dalmatian Zagora, ranges from fifty kilometers in width in the north to just a few kilometers in the south. Dalmatia today lies mostly in Croatia, also with smaller parts in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Neum Municipality) and Montenegro (around the Bay of Kotor). The Adriatic Sea's high water quality, along with the immense number of coves, islands and channels, makes Dalmatia an attractive place for nautical races, nautical tourism, and tourism in general. Dalmatia also includes several national parks that are tourist attractions: Paklenica karst river, Kornati archipelago, Krka river rapids and Mljet island.
4. Český Krumlov (Czech Republic)
5. Prague (Czech Republic)
Prague is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. Nicknames for Prague have included Praga mater urbium/Praha matka měst ("Prague – Mother of Cities") in Latin/Czech, Stověžatá Praha ("City of a Hundred Spires") in Czech or Zlaté město/Goldene Stadt ("Golden City") in Czech/German. Almost one-half of the national income from tourism is spent in Prague. The city offers approximately 73,000 beds in accommodation facilities, most of which were built after 1990, including almost 51,000 beds in hotels and boarding houses capable of satisfying all categories of visitors. Situated on the Vltava River in central Bohemia, Prague has been the political, cultural and economic centre of the Czech state for more than 1,100 years.
6. Copenhagen (Denmark)
Copenhagen is the capital and largest city of Denmark, with an urban population of 1,181,239 (2010) and a metropolitan population of 1,894,521 (2010). Copenhagen is situated on the islands of Zealand and Amager. With around 2.7 million inhabitants within a 50 km radius, Copenhagen is one of the most densely populated areas in Northern Europe. Since the turn of the millennium, Copenhagen has seen a strong urban and cultural development and has been described as a boom town. This is partly due to massive investments in cultural facilities as well as infrastructure and a new wave of successful designers, chefs and architects. Copenhagen is ranked as the 7th most expensive city as of 2008. On 2 April 1801 a British fleet under the command of Admiral Sir Hyde Parker fought and defeated a Danish-Norwegian fleet anchored just off Copenhagen.
7. Bath (England)
Bathis a city in the ceremonial county of Somerset in the south west of England. It is situated 97 miles (156 km) west of London and 13 miles (21 km) south-east of Bristol. The population of the city is 83,992. It was granted city status by Royal Charter by Queen Elizabeth I in 1590, and was made a county borough in 1889 which gave it administrative independence from its county, Somerset. The city became part of Avon when that county was created in 1974. Since 1996, when Avon was abolished, Bath has been the principal centre of the unitary authority of Bath and North East Somerset (B&NES). The city has a variety of theatres, museums, and other cultural and sporting venues, which have helped to make it a major centre for tourism, with over one million staying visitors and 3.8 million day visitors to the city each year.
8. Lake District (England)
The Lake District, also known as The Lakes or Lakeland, is a mountainous region in North West England. A popular holiday destination, it is famous for its lakes and its mountains (or fells), and its associations with the early 19th century poetry and writings of William Wordsworth and the Lake Poets. Over the past century, however, tourism has grown rapidly to become the area's primary source of income. The central part is the lowest in terms of elevation. It takes the form of a long boot-shaped ridge running from Loughrigg Fell above Ambleside—a popular tourist destination—to Keswick, with Derwent Water on the west and Thirlmere on the east. The Langdale Pikes, with High Raise behind them, are another feature popular with walkers. The central ridge running north over High Seat is exceptionally boggy.
9. Oxford (England)
10. Carcassonne (France)
Carcassonne (Occitan: Carcassona) is a fortified French town in the Aude department, of which it is the prefecture, in the former province of Languedoc. A major part of its income, however, comes from the tourism connected to the fortifications (Cité) and from boat cruising on the Canal du Midi. Carcassonne receives about three million visitors annually. In the late 1990s Carcassonne airport started taking budget flights to and from European airports and by 2009 had regular flight connections with Bournemouth, Cork, Dublin, Edinburgh, Frankfurt-Hahn, Stansted, Liverpool, East Midlands and Charleroi. First signs of settlement in this region have been dated to about 3500 BC, but the hill site of Carsac – a Celtic place-name that has been retained at other sites in the south – became an important trading place in the 6th century BC.
11. Loire Valley (France)
Loire Valley (French: Vallée de la Loire) is known as the Garden of France and the Cradle of the French Language. It is also noteworthy for the quality of its architectural heritage, in its historic towns such as Amboise, Angers, Blois, Chinon, Nantes, Orléans, Saumur, and Tours, but in particular for its castles, such as the Châteaux d'Amboise, Château de Chambord, château d'Ussé, Château de Villandry and Chenonceau and more particularly its many cultural monuments, which illustrate to an exceptional degree the ideals of the Renaissance and the Age of the Enlightenment on western European thought and design. On December 2, 2000, UNESCO added the central part of the Loire River valley, between Maine and Sully-sur-Loire, to its list of World Heritage Sites.
12. Nice (France)
Niceis a city in southern France on the Mediterranean coast. The city is nicknamed Nice la Belle (Nissa la Bella in Niçard), which means Nice the Beautiful. It also has the second busiest airport in France after Paris and two convention centers dedicated to business tourism. The city also has a university, several business districts and some major cultural facilities, such as museums, a national theater, an opera house with a regional library and several concert halls and casinos. It is the historical capital city of the County of Nice (Comté de Nice). It is the largest city of the French Riviera (Côte d'Azur), the 5th largest city of France with a population of 348,721 in 2007 and the fifth-largest urban area after those of Paris, Lyon, Marseille and Lille with a population of 955,000.
13. Paris (France)
Parisis the capital and largest city of France. It is situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region (or Paris Region, French: Région parisienne). The city of Paris, within its administrative limits largely unchanged since 1860, has an estimated population of 2,193,031 (January 2007), but the Paris metropolitan area has a population of 11,836,970 (January 2007), and is one of the most populated metropolitan areas in Europe. France's late 19th-century Universal Expositions made Paris an increasingly important centre of technology, trade and tourism.
14. Heidelberg (Germany)
Heidelberg is a city in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. As of 2008, over 145,000 people live within the city's 109 square kilometres (42 sq mi) area. Heidelberg is a unitary authority. The Rhein-Neckar-Kreis rural district surrounds and has its seat in the city, but the city is not a part of the district. In 2004, 81.8% of all people worked for service industries, including tourism. As a relic of the period of Romanticism, Heidelberg has been labeled a "Romantic town". This is used to attract more than 3.5 million visitors every year. In November 1619, the royal crown of Bohemia was offered to the Elector, Frederick V. (He was married to Elizabeth, eldest daughter of James I of Great Britain). He became known as the "winter king", as he reigned for only one winter before the Imperial house of Habsburg regained the crown by force.
15. Lübeck (Germany)
The Hanseatic City of Lübeck, is the second-largest city in Schleswig-Holstein, in northern Germany, and one of the major ports of Germany. It was for several centuries the "capital" of the Hanseatic League ("Queen of the Hanse") and because of its Brick Gothic architectural heritage is on UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites. In 2005 it had a population of 213,983. Around 1200 the port became the main point of departure for colonists leaving for the Baltic territories conquered by the Livonian Order and, later, Teutonic Order. In 1226 Emperor Frederick II elevated the town to an Imperial Free City, becoming the Free City of Lübeck. In the 14th century Lübeck became the "Queen of the Hanseatic League", being by far the largest and most powerful member of this mediaeval trade organization. In 1375, Emperor Charles IV.
16. Neuschwanstein (Germany)
Neuschwanstein Castleis a 19th-century Romanesque Revival palace on a rugged hill above the village of Hohenschwangau near Füssen in southwest Bavaria, Germany. The palace was commissioned by Ludwig II of Bavaria as a retreat and as an homage to Richard Wagner. The municipality of Schwangau lies at an elevation of 800 m (2,620 ft) at the south west border of the German state of Bavaria. Its surroundings are characterized by the transition between the Alpine foothills in the south (towards the nearby Austrian border) and a hilly landscape in the north that appears flat by comparison. In the Middle Ages, three castles overlooked the village. The palace can be regarded as typical for 19th century architecture.
17. Santorini (Greece)
Santorini, also known as Thera (or Thira, Greek Θήρα ) is a volcanic island located in the southern Aegean Sea, about 200 km (120 mi) southeast from Greece's mainland. It is the largest island of a small, circular archipelago which bears the same name. It forms the southernmost member of the Cyclades group of islands, with an area of approximately 73 km2 (28 sq mi) and a 2001 census population of 13,670. It is composed of the Municipality of Thira (pop. 12,440) and the Community of Oía (Οία, pop. 1,230, which includes 268 inhabitants resident on the offshore island of Therasia, lying to the west). These have a total land area of 90.623 km2 (34.990 sq mi), which also includes the uninhabited islands of Nea Kameni, Palaia Kameni, Aspronisi, and Christiana (all part of the Municipality of Thira).
18. Paxi (Greece)
Paxiis the name given to the smallest group of the Ionian Islands (the Heptanese). In Greek it is a plural form and it refers to a complex of islands, the largest of which are Paxos and Antipaxos (a smaller nearby island famous for its wine, and two of the finest sandy beaches in the Ionian Sea). In Greek mythology, Poseidon created the island by striking Corfu with his trident, so that he and wife Amphitrite could have some peace and quiet. Olive oil making, soap manufacture and fishing were supplanted by tourism as the main industry in the mid sixties, resulting in a construction boom which has greatly altered the coastline around Gaios, the 'capital' of the Paxiot demos (community). There are ferry and jetfoil connections daily with Kerkyra (Corfu) and with the mainland at Parga.
19. Blue Lagoon (Iceland)
The Blue Lagoon (Icelandic: "Bláa lónið") geothermal spa is one of the most visited attractions in Iceland. The steamy waters are part of a lava formation. The warm waters are rich in minerals like silica and sulphur and bathing in the Blue Lagoon is reputed to help some people suffering from skin diseases such as psoriasis. The water temperature in the bathing and swimming area of the lagoon averages 40 °C (104 °F). The lagoon is fed by the water output of the nearby geothermal power plant Svartsengi. Superheated water is vented from the ground near a lava flow and used to run turbines that generate electricity. After going through the turbines, the steam and hot water passes through a heat exchanger to provide heat for a municipal hot water heating system.
20. Amalfi Coast (Italy)
The Amalfi Coast, or Costiera Amalfitana in Italian, is a stretch of coastline on the southern side of the Sorrentine Peninsula of Italy (Province of Salerno), extending from Positano in the west to Vietri sul Mare in the east. The main town close to the Amalfi Coast is Salerno, the municipalities belonging to its coast are Vietri sul Mare, Cetara, Maiori, Tramonti, Minori, Ravello, Scala, Atrani, Amalfi, Conca dei Marini, Furore, Praiano and Positano. Very close to the territory of the coast (near Furore and Conca dei Marini) is it situated Agerola, located in the Sorrentine Peninsula and belonging to the Province of Naples. Renowned for its rugged terrain, scenic beauty, picturesque towns and diversity, the Amalfi Coast was featured in Positano (1953) by American writer John Steinbeck.
22. Venice (Italy)
Venice is a city in northern Italy known both for tourism and for industry, and is the capital of the region Veneto, with a population of 271,367 (census estimate 1 January 2004). Together with Padua, the city is included in the Padua-Venice Metropolitan Area (population 1,600,000). The name is derived from the ancient tribe of Veneti that inhabited the region in Roman times. The city historically was the capital of an independent city-state. Venice has been known as the "La Dominante", "Serenissima", "Queen of the Adriatic", "City of Water", "City of Masks", "City of Bridges", "The Floating City", and "City of Canals". Luigi Barzini, writing in The New York Times, described it as "undoubtedly the most beautiful city built by man".
23. Lake Como (Italy)
Lake Como is a lake of glacial origin in Lombardy, Italy. It has an area of 146 km², making it the third largest lake in Italy, after Lake Garda and Lake Maggiore. At over 400 m (1320 ft) deep it is one of the deepest lakes in Europe and the bottom of the lake is more than 200 metres (656 ft) below sea-level. Lake Como has been a popular retreat for aristocrats and wealthy people since Roman times, and a very popular tourist attraction, which boasts many artistic and cultural gems. It is famous for its numerous villas and palaces (such as Villa Olmo, Villa Serbelloni and Villa Carlotta). Currently, many celebrities have or had homes on the shores of Lake Como, such as Matthew Bellamy, Madonna, George Clooney, Gianni Versace, Ronaldinho, Sylvester Stallone and Ben Spies.