20 Off-The-Beaten Track Things to do on Your Europe Vacation

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Venice at Sunset

Your European guide books will give you information about the “Best Things To Do in Europe”. However, every traveler aspires to know more about each destination they travel to. On your European vacations, finding hidden gems ensures you make your own exclusive memories of each place you visit. From London to Barcelona, from Paris to Venice, we offer you a list of the most unique things do at Europe. So, read along and create your very own bucket list!


  • The Campidoglio’s (Capitol Hill) elegant marble stairway that leads to the Piazza Campidoglio is an exhilarating Renaissance creation. Continue to the Capitoline Museums. In fact, it’s first public art gallery, not just in Europe, but also in the whole world. Once here, climb the stairs to the roof terrace. A location beloved by chic modern Romans for its sweeping views over this European city.
  • Take a taxi to the San Sebastiana gate in Imperial Rome’s towering Aurelian Walls. Then, enter an archeological park created to preserve the Ancient Appian Way (Via Appia Antica). Once Rome’s link to the eastern Empire, it is now considered one of the wonders of the world. It’s also known for its engineering and monuments.


  • Take an after-dinner ride on the Number 1 boat of the vaporetti or public water buses. Then, stop at every point on the Grand Canal. Watch light reflect magically from the towering palazzo while on your rise. Later, pass underneath the Rialto and Accademia bridges.
  • Later, view one of Venice’s modern treasures behind walls in the residential district of Dorsoduro. The Peggy Guggenheim Collection is full of the American heiress’ cutting-edge collection of surrealist and modern paintings. The collection includes Jackson Pollock, among others.
    Of course, don’t forget to stop at Hemingway’s favorite haunt, Harry’s Bar, for a Bellini, its signature drink invented by the bar’s founder.


  • If you’re want to learn about Florence’s shopping scene, wander down the Via Tornabuoni, a street featuring the swankiest stores in this European town. Or, for an open-air food, clothing, and antiques market experience, the Piazza San Lorenzo, Mercato Nuovo, or Mercato Centrale are must-see considerations. (If you want to know more about hidden shopping gems in Europe, click here)
  • To get away from crowds of tourists for a bit and for a fun, a “local” point-of-view, head across the river on Ponte Vespucci to Oltrarno. It offers an interesting neighborhood, small stores, and artisan workshops. At Piazza Santa Spirito, enjoy a small morning market or the 15th-century Santo Spirito Church.


  • Ride a cable car from Paral.lel Metro station to the heights of Montjuïc. It’s a sprawling hillside park named for the Jewish burial sites located here in the Middle Ages. Visit the Joan Miró Foundation. Then, stroll down the hill to the ultra-chic Miramar Hotel to gaze over the harbor and enjoy Barcelona’s sea air.
  • Park Güell is a fairytale garden refuge and playground for adults. Undulating benches shaped like sea serpents, columns that resemble palm trees, glittering mosaics and lizard statues along with stunning Mediterranean views impress every visitor. Maybe, you’ll feel like Alice visiting your very own Wonderland.
  • Experience Barcelona’s creative energy at Poble Nou, Catalan for “New City.” A playground for architects to experiment with cutting-edge design. You can glimpse a string of fantastical creations. These include the cucumber-shaped Torre Agbar, the multi-layered Spiralling Tower, and the angular shapes of the Parc de Diagonal Mar.


  • Upscale tapas and wine bars create a fun ambiance along Calle Cava Baja on the medieval streets of La Latina. It is known as Los Austrias among the 16th and 17th-century Hapsburg nobility who lived here.
  • Home to Picasso’s Guernica, the Reina Sofia offers an eclectic array of amazing works of European art. A reformed 18th century hospital, the building housing this museum and its expansive galleries is also worth a look. Also interesting is its restaurant (the brainchild of Sergi Arola).
  • Faro de Moncloa is a tower over 90 metres in height which offers the best panoramic view of Madrid. Situated in the University Complex, it allows visitors the best of the views of this European city. You get to take a panoramic lift to the top. You can see the Royal Palace, Almudena Cathedral, the Four Towers, and the magnificent Sierra de Guadarrama Mountains in the background.

Learn more things to do in Spain here


Paris Sights
  • Don’t just drive by the Eiffel Tower. Go up 905 feet to the observation deck for the world’s most famous view. Then, reward yourself at the “champagne bar” or with a meal at Jules Verne Restaurant on the tower’s second level. The restaurant features an equally majestic view over the Seine. Diners have the privilege of using the private elevator to the top of the tower, for diners’ use only.
  • After touring Notre Dame de Paris, come back to attend one of its regular evening concerts and medieval Gregorian chants. The acoustics are truly impeccable and some of the best in Europe. Later, stop by on the first Friday of each month to see the Crown of Thorns. Legend has it that the ring of woven branches placed on Christ’s head during his crucifixion. It was among the few relics that got saved during the dreadful fire at Notre Dame that destroyed the cathedral’s roof and toppled its spire.
  • The Marais District is the best preserved historical district in Paris. Infact, in all of Europe too. Located on the Right Bank, 18th century streets and quiet back alleys still offer you a glimpse of the medieval city of Victor Hugo and Balzac novels.


  • Take a spin on the London Eye. Then, drop into a local pub to have a pint and sample England’s famous fish n’ chips.
  • Check out St. Paul’s Cathedral. London’s greatest cathedral, St. Paul’s has been host to lavish ceremonies since the 17th century. Some of the most important ones include the celebration for Queen Elizabeth II’s 80th birthday. As well as the much celebrated marriage of Prince Charles & Lady Diana.
  • Give yourself a truly British treat with “champagne afternoon tea” in the Cadogan Hotel.
  • Later, explore the seedy underbelly of Victorian London. Join the Jack the Ripper tour to trace the unsolved crimes of the Ripper.

Learn more about London and around here.

To conclude, a vacation to Europe is not just about ticking off your list of the most well known landmarks around this continent. Make time to head off the beaten path to discover the cafés, shops, galleries, and neighborhoods that form the heartbeat of that European city. When you travel with Cosmos, you get knowledge of all these hidden gems through our expert Tour Directors and Local Guides. Truly, they can introduce you to the less-traveled areas and enhance your experience like no one else.

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