What Are the Best Countries to Visit in Europe?

I have visited every country in the world (before turning 28), and more than 1,500 destinations since I went alone to Egypt at the age of 17. It is difficult to make a top list of the best countries to visit in Europe, but below are ten of my favourite countries based on my experiences with more than 3,500 days of travel so far.

1. Estonia

I have spent over ten months in this small Baltic country, where I lived in the Old Town of Tallinn (UNESCO World Heritage Site) for eight months during the pandemic. I have visited many cities, towns and islands. Tallinn, Hiiumaa, Prangli, Viljandi and Vormsi are my favourites, while my visit to Narva was one of the most interesting experiences.

I find Estonia surprisingly similar to Scandinavia, with Saaremaa and Hiiumaa being similar to Thy, Denmark, where I grew up. Estonia offers some of the best value in Europe, great hospitality, excellent food, and many lovely travel experiences.

2. Italy

The best country in the world for food, but Italy has so much more to offer. I’ve visited more than 30 destinations in Italy, with the Amalfi Coast, Assisi, Rome, Sicily and Tuscany being my favourites. Great value for money if you go to the right places. Fantastic people and culture. There is nothing like Italy!

3. Denmark

I love my country for both living and travelling. It is one of the best countries in the world for quality of life. For travel, there are a lot of countries with a lot more to offer, but we actually have enough for several months of travelling. We are much more than Copenhagen, which for me isn’t the highlight of Denmark, and very different to Jutland, where I grew up. Besides our capital, we have almost 80 inhabited islands, of which I have visited more than 50, and visiting islands is something I really enjoy. Anholt, Avernakø, Bornholm, Christiansø and Livø are all well worth a visit.

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If you like Copenhagen, we have three other cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants, Aarhus, Odense and Aalborg. They all have great attractions and food. We also have beautiful and famous castles (Frederiksborg Castle in the photo above), great national parks, theme parks and a lot more. We are a great country to visit, but unfortunately, one of the most expensive, and I understand if Denmark is not at the top of your list for this reason.

This is a list of countries which helps Denmark rank high. The Faroe Islands and Greenland are not independent countries as per the United Nations, and it is two fantastic travel destinations in addition to the mainland of Denmark. I visited both in 2013 and would very much like to visit them again.

4. Iceland
The country in the world that feels most similar to Denmark, in my opinion. Iceland was part of Denmark and is the only country outside Denmark that teaches Danish in schools. I would probably rank it even higher if Iceland were a cheap country. It is an expensive country, but one of the most beautiful in the world, with outstanding nature experiences, friendly people, fantastic food (Restaurant Dill is one of the best restaurants I have experienced in the world) and has been ranked as the most environmentally clean country in the world.

5. Norway
If Norway was a cheap country, it could be even higher on the list, but it is unfortunately very expensive, and one of the reasons I haven’t seen more of this stunning country. I visited Norway for the first time with my family as a kid and later went back a few times myself. The beautiful countryside with extraordinary nature makes Norway one of the best countries in the world to travel to. Of all places I have been to, the remote Svalbard island and its “capital”, Longyearbyen, made the biggest impression on me. Longyearbyen is the world’s northernmost settlement, with a population greater than 1,000.

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6. Ireland
Ireland is a fascinating country to visit. Its capital, Dublin, is not one of my favourite cities. Instead, the countryside and the friendly people make Ireland special for me. Since Ireland is one of the more expensive countries, I decided to hitchhike several times in the country, but it made my adventures there even better. I found the Irish people talkative and very friendly. Ireland was also one of the countries I found most similar to Denmark, and as they speak English, Ireland feels easy and homely to travel in.

7. France
I visited France for the first time as a 12-year-old in 2000 with my family and experienced Tour de France on Mont Ventoux that year. I have since travelled to France with my school, several trips alone and later a few trips with my girlfriend, who is now my wife. I asked her in front of the Eiffel Tower if she would marry me, and she accepted.

France has given me many memories. It’s one of the easiest and most enjoyable countries to make a road trip. I find it easy to drive in France and the countryside is fantastic with many things to do and see. France is my second favourite country in the world for food, and I have experienced some of the best meals of my life in France. There will always be things to do in France, and it’s a country I would like to visit many times in the future. France also has impressive remote territories like Reunion, New Caledonia and St. Pierre, which I really enjoyed. Bora Bora didn’t meet my expectations, but I enjoyed other places in French Polynesia. Their Caribbean islands are stunning, with Saint Barthélemy being the best, in my opinion.

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8. Portugal
I first went to Portugal at the age of 17 and visited the three biggest cities, Lisbon, Porto and Braga. At that time, football was a big interest, and I saw several matches such as Benfica – Liverpool in the Champions League and Benfica – Porto in the Portuguese league. I have since visited much more of the country, and my favourites are now Algarve, the Douro Valley, Madeira and the Azores. Stunning destinations with some of the friendliest people in Europe, if not the whole world. The value for money is fantastic compared to other European countries.

9. The Netherlands
I have spent more than a month in the Netherlands. Amsterdam is one of the best cities in the world, in my opinion, the countryside is stunning, and their islands are lovely. I liked the Dutch Caribbean islands of Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Saba and St. Maarten, while the Wadden Sea islands of Texel, Vlieland, Schiermonnikroog and Terschelling are some of my favourite islands in Europe. Two of my favourite restaurants in the world are Dutch: Samhoud Places in Amsterdam and Inter Scaldes in the province of Zeeland.

10. Sweden
Sweden is home to two of my favourite cities in the world, Gothenburg and Stockholm. Gothenburg is a cheap ferry ride away from Northern Jutland, the region in Denmark where I grew up, while Stockholm is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, if not the world, with its stunning archipelago. I have also done road trips in Sweden and enjoyed the stunning countryside. It feels very similar to Denmark and is a country I would like to visit again and again.

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