50 things to do in Europe before you die (Part B)
Welcome to Part B of 50 things to do in Europe before you die. If you missed Part A, you can find it here.
The final 25 items on our Euro-trip bucket list include more festivals, more amazing beaches, and even more once-in-a-lifetime experiences that you can only find in Europe. Some highlights include La Tomatina festival in Spain, amazing fireworks in Madeira, and travelling to the snowy Top of Europe in Switzerland. We also look at some lesser known destinations, such as Lithuania and Croatia, and explore what they have to offer. Hopefully, you’re already planning your own Euro-trip with some of our suggestions in mind, so get ready to add to your list of things to do in Europe before you die.
26. Participate in the world’s biggest tomato fight in Buñol, Spain
Every year 20 000 people flock to the small town of Buñol, near Valencia in Spain, to throw tomatoes at one another. It is just as chaotic and messy as it sounds, and if you don’t mind playing with your food, it can be loads of fun. It’s recommended to wear goggles for safety – and not to wear your favourite outfit, of course.
27. Go skinny-dipping in Corfu, Greece
Corfu island is a slice of paradise with its dazzling blue coastlines and white sandy beaches. Hire a boat and stop off at the best swimming spots around the island, and if you’re brave enough, find an isolated spot and go skinny-dipping in the warm water. In the evening, have sun-downers and enjoy some authentic Greek cuisine – be sure to try some tzatziki, a yogurt and cucumber dip; or dolmades, which are parcels of curried rice wrapped in vine leaves.
28. Have a croissant and coffee at a sidewalk café in Paris, France
Sit outside at one of the charming cafés in Paris with a good book, and watch the world go by as you sip your coffee. Try some typical French pastries if you’re peckish: choose from croissants, pain au chocolat (literally “chocolate bread”), and éclairs to satisfy your sweet tooth.
29. Go shopping in Milan, Italy
Known as the fashion capital of the world, Milan is the perfect place for a shopping spree. Get some ideas from Milan Fashion Week and hit the boutiques in the stunning glass-domed Galleria with some of your best girl friends. You might leave a dent in your bank account, but you’ll be several pairs of Italian shoes richer.
30. Feast on gummy bears in Heidelberg, Germany
Heidelberg is a small university town in Germany, and the hometown of the gummy bear. After taking a look at Heidelberg castle, stroll down the main street and pop into one of the many sweet shops. You will find more varieties of gummy sweets than you can possibly imagine, as well as plenty of free tasters.
31. Watch the fireworks in Madeira, Portugal
Experience the best firework display in the world on New Year’s even in Funchal Bay, Madeira. The display is nothing short of extravagant, and a perfect way to welcome in the new year. If you’re lucky enough to be travelling with someone special, the fireworks are an ideal backdrop for romance.
32. Walk across the Ponte Vecchio in Florence, Italy
The Ponte Vecchio (“old bridge”) is one of the main attractions in the beautiful Italian city of Florence. The bridge dates back to medieval times, when it was common for shops to be built on the bridge itself. Many of the shops on the Ponte Vecchio still exist, selling jewellery and souvenirs to tourists. Florence is also famous for its finely crafted leather goods, so look out for the perfect wallet or handbag as you browse the markets in town.
33. Visit St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow, Russia
This stunning cathedral is one of the highlights of a visit to Moscow, with its bright colors and bold patterns standing out against the sky. While in Moscow, a night at the world-famous Russian ballet is highly recommended.
34. Take a river cruise along the Rhine Valley in Germany
The Rhine valley is one of the hidden gems of Germany. Take a river cruise along the Rhine to fully appreciate the beauty of this area. The river meanders through the green, hilly countryside alongside tiny medieval towns like St. Goar. Keep an eye out for the many tiny castles perched on hill tops, some of which you can visit. The Rhine valley is also well known for its eiswein (“ice wine”), a very sweet white wine which is delicious for dessert.
35. See the Grand Prix in Monaco, French Riviera
If you’re looking for glamour and excitement in Europe, look no further than Monaco, a vibrant town in the French Riviera and playground of the rich and famous. Ruled by royalty and home to the Grand Prix, Monaco is a city of fast cars, high fashion and super yachts. Get dressed up and visit Casino Monte Carlo for a great night out.
36. Put your hand in the Mouth of Truth in Rome
La Bocca Della Verita, or “The Mouth of Truth”, is a bit like an ancient lie detector. Put your hand inside the mouth and wait – legend has it that if you tell a lie, your hand will be bitten clean off. If you tell the truth, however, you will emerge unscathed. If you’re willing to take the risk, a visit to the Mouth of Truth can be quite fun – especially if you prepare a list of awkward questions for your friends beforehand.
37. See a cabaret show at the Moulin Rouge in Paris
Up on the hill above Paris, in the village of Montmartre, you will find the best nightlife that Paris has to offer. A must-see is a cabaret show at the Moulin Rouge, which features energetic and entertaining can-can dancers, as well as many other side-show acts.
38. Take a break on the island of Mykonos, Greece
Mykonos is an ideal place to unwind and enjoy the finer things in life – sunshine, clear blue water, amazing food, and friendly people. Unless you feel like taking a leisurely walk among the charming white-washed houses, there’s no need to do anything beyond sunbathing beside the Mediterranean. Bliss.
39. Wear a mask at the Carnival in Venice
The Carnival of Venice is the biggest masquerade ball in the world, and a festival not to be missed. Italy’s floating city becomes even more mysterious and exciting as people arrive with their intricate masks and outfits, ready to celebrate in complete anonymity. Join the festivities with your own Venetian mask, and admire the stunning costumes and decorations as you walk through Venice. The experience is nothing short of magical.
40. See the gargoyles at Notre Dame, Paris
The cathedral of Notre Dame is a beautiful example of Gothic architecture, and a stunning sight of Paris. Go there during the day to see the huge stained glass windows and the creepy gargoyles in the bell tower, or go there at night for a hauntingly beautiful view of Notre Dame lit up against the dark sky.
41. Visit Perissa Beach in Santorini, Greece
The sand on Perissa Beach is black, and very, very hot. The unique colour of the sand is due to volcanic activity on the island of Santorini, and stands in stark contrast to the white beaches elsewhere in Greece. If you like, take some black sand home with you in a small glass bottle as a souvenir of your visit to Perissa Beach.
42. See the remains of the Berlin Wall in Germany
Once a symbol of oppression and division, the Berlin Wall (or what is left of it) has been transformed into a work of living and changing art. Huge murals now cover the walls with messages of freedom, love, and optimism. Take some time to think about Germany’s history as you walk past these amazing works of art.
43. Pose with the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy
The Leaning Tower of Pisa is a quirky landmark near Florence in Italy. Although it is technically an architectural failure, the tower is loved by tourists, and a favourite thing to do is to pose with it, pretending to hold it up. It’s sometimes possible to climb the tower of Pisa, which gives you a great view of the surrounding area.
44. See the Hill of Crosses in Lithuania
Lithuania is part of the Baltic States, along with the equally small countries of Latvia and Estonia. Although this Eastern European country is not very well known, it has a few stunning points of interest. Perhaps the most amazing thing to see in Lithuania is the Hill of Crosses. A place of pilgrimage for devout Catholics, the hill is adorned with over 100 000 wooden crosses and crucifixes. Even if you are not religious, the Hill of Crosses is still a special sight.
45. See the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican City, Rome
Some of the most beautiful Italian Renaissance art is housed in the Vatican in Rome. The most spectacular is the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, which was painstakingly painted by Michaelangelo. The scenes depicted on the ceiling are from the Christian Bible, and include the famous image of the creation of man.
46. Have a Turkish bath in Istanbul
Considered to be a little slice of Europe in Asia, Istanbul is an absolutely must-visit destination. After exploring Istanbul’s mosques and shisha bars, indulge yourself and have an authentic Turkish bath at one of the old bath houses in the city. Start off in a steam room, then have an invigorating scrub before relaxing in one of the hot baths.
47. Go olive-picking in Tuscany, Italy
It’s hard not to fall in love with Tuscany, a place of warm breezes, rolling green hills, cyprus trees, and little red-roofed houses scattered in the Italian countryside. For a rustic European experience, visit a local olive farm and spend some time in the sun picking olives. In the evening, settle down to a Tuscan feast with pasta, local wine, parma ham and tiramisu.
48. Visit Dubrovnik, Croatia
Dubrovnik is a charming medieval city on the Mediterranean sea that was once a part of Yugoslavia. With a combination of fascinating history, interesting architecture and gorgeous beaches, Dubrovnik is fast becoming a popular tourist destination. If you’re looking for a slightly different Mediterranean experience, this may just be the place for you.
49. Walk through the Black Forest in Germany
Home to fairy-tales and legends, the Black Forest is a mysterious and beautiful part of Germany. The forest is particularly stunning in autumn and winter, and there are many hidden castles and waterfalls to explore. Be sure to try Black Forest cherry cake while you’re there – it’s deliciously decadent.
50. Stand at the Top of Europe, Switzerland
Dress warmly and take a train to the “Top of Europe” on Jungfrau mountain, and survey the snowy wonderland at the very top of Switzerland. If the weather is suitable, you can go outside and make a snowman, even in summer. You can also explore the ice tunnels and the ice cave and its amazing ice sculptures.
We have reached the end of our list of 50 things to do in Europe before you die – hopefully you have been inspired to visit this amazing continent, and to make your own special memories as you travel. So go out there and start ticking items off your Euro-trip bucket list!