1) Iceland. Iceland has been a very popular travel destination all-around in recent years, and I can see why. All the pictures I’ve seen of the country are simply breathtaking. Most of the country’s already-small population live within or around the capital city of Reykjavik, so the rest of the land is sparsely-occupied and filled with wondrous volcanoes and mountain scenery. I’ve never been to Europe, but Iceland will probably be the focus of my first European sightseeing trip.
2) The Scottish Highlands. Have you ever seen the movie Skyfall? Remember those nice, grassy valleys at the end when they’re at 007’s childhood home? That’s where I want to go see. Scotland has a unique culture which sets it apart from the rest of the Anglophone world, and I think it’d be a neat place to visit. I’d also probably pop by Loch Ness and see if I can spot that elusive lake monster… I’m sure that’d give me some nostalgia from watching Scooby Doo and the Loch Ness Monster as a child.
3) Venice. For a long time this was my #1 place I wanted to visit, and really it’s more of a tie for 2nd now instead of a true 3rd. In elementary school, I remember reading The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke and being amazed by the Venetian setting. My Venetian fascination continues to this day; however, I’m worried that my expectations for Venice might be a bit high at this point. Still, I think the entire atmosphere of alleyways intermixed with bridges and canals would be magical. I’ll probably go take a boat over to see nearby Murano whenever I finally make it to Venice.
4) Dubrovnik, Croatia. I mean… have you seen it? This town looks amazing! Dubrovnik is a Croatian seaport on the Adriatic coast. It was once the capital of the Republic of Ragusa, a country which some people may recognize from the game Europa Universalis IV. The city is walled and, from the looks of it on Google Maps Street View, seems a bit more tucked-away than you’d think in spit of its high visitation rate.
5) Finland. Now admittedly, all the Nordic countries have somewhat similar sights to see, but I’m placing Finland above the others mostly due to its culture. I mean a country that likes racing, hockey, and metal music? I’m down with that. The capital city of Helsinki seems particularly interesting as a place with a diverse history and lots of attractions to visit. The rest of the country is occupied by a sprawling countryside of forests, lakes, and mountains which seem as if they’d be very relaxing.
6) London. Well, what is there to say? London has everything. There’s the British Museum with its wide array of exhibits including an extensive Egyptian collection. There’s Big Ben and the rest of the government buildings of Westminister. There’s fantastic soccer (and yes I’m going to call it soccer) to watch with the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea, West Ham United, Spurs, and my favorite European club, the somewhat lowly but lovable Queen’s Park Rangers in Shepherd’s Bush. I’m also an avid Doctor Who fan, so seeing the beautiful cityscape with The Shard and the rest of London’s iconic buildings would be of great interest to me since I’ve seen it all so many times on a screen already.
7) Monaco. I suppose it’s wrong of me to claim that I want to visit Monaco for Monaco itself, as that’s not really the case. I just want to see a Monaco Grand Prix. The Monaco Grand Prix is perhaps the most prestigious automobile race in the world, and the city-state is said to come to life more than ever during the week of the big race. Monaco also has a host of luxurious resorts and casinos which could occupy my time in the lead-up to the race.
8) Prague, Czech Republic. A city rich with culture, Prague seems like just the place to visit if on a European road trip. Its iconic Vltava River and historic buildings make it an attractive destination, and, being a history nerd, I’m sure I could find tons and tons to do in a city with such a rich history like Prague.
9) Rome + The Vatican. I suppose it’s no surprise that Rome would make the list. The city, including its enclave state of Vatican City, are of immense and lasting historic significance. I’m interested in ancient and classical history, so seeing the ruins of the Roman Republic and Roman Empire, some of whose buildings are still in remarkably good condition, would be very fascinating.
10) Malta. This might be a bit of a weirder one, so hear me out. I’m a huge history nerd, and Malta is a great place to see historic forts and learn about great historical battles. Over the thousands of years it has been inhabited, Malta has been influenced by numerous cultures and thus is a sort of melting pot of all the Mediterranean cultures from history. It is also currently home to the oldest remaining chivalric order, the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, a group which is directly descended from the Knights Hospitaller of the crusades and has in the past successfully defended Malta from foreign invasion.
11) Florence, Italy
12) Dublin, Ireland
14) Vienna, Austria
15) Bologna, Italy
18) Zurich, Switzerland
19) Glasgow, Scotland
20) Aachen, Germany