Ever since my childhood, I’ve had an insatiable curiosity about the world. Every map, every book, every documentary was a window into a fascinating universe waiting to be explored. My first love, however, was always Europe. I’ve had family in European countries for centuries, from Hungary to Italy to Spain, and Its rich tapestry of cultures, languages, and histories beckoned me like nothing else.
My very first trip after I founded David’s Been Here in 2008 took me to Montenegro and Croatia in the Balkans. A year later, I embarked on the biggest trip of my life, a two-year journey across nearly two dozen European nations. From the cobblestone streets of old towns to the mix of languages, cuisines, and cultures, Europe was a dream.
My travels since have continued and recently culminated with me visiting my landmark 100th country. I’ve visited most European countries in-depth, with Belgium and Luxembourg being the most recent. But there are still six nations on the continent I have yet to explore. Let’s dive into what makes Europe so special and the European countries I still haven’t visited.
There’s something about European countries that makes them irresistible to travelers. Perhaps it’s the old-world charm, or maybe it’s the fusion of history and modernity. To me, the allure of European countries lies in their richness and diversity, as well as the people.
Each country in Europe is like a unique piece in a grand mosaic. They all have their own distinctive cultures, traditions, and histories. And yet, they seamlessly blend together to form the vibrant tapestry that is Europe. Every visit to a European country is like stepping into a new world, yet it still feels like home.
Lithuania, a Baltic country in Northern Europe, is rich in history and tradition. It is known for its stunning architecture, particularly in its capital, Vilnius, which is home to one of the largest medieval old towns in Europe.
The country is also famous for its beautiful landscapes, including numerous lakes, forests, and the unique Curonian Spit. This narrow sand-dune spit that stretches along the Baltic Sea is a testament to the raw power and beauty of nature.
A country on the back burner now due to the current war between Russia and Ukraine is Belarus. Known as “the Lungs of Europe,” this landlocked country is home to some of the largest and most pristine forest areas on the continent. The Belavezhskaya Pushcha National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a prime example. It’s one of the last and largest remaining parts of the primeval forest that once covered much of the European Plain.
Its capital, Minsk, is also a fascinating blend of Soviet-era architecture and modernist structures. I hope to someday explore its traditions and customs, including Belarusian folk music and dance, as well as its cuisine!
Slovakia, nestled in the heart of Europe, is often known as the “Land of Castles.” It boasts over 100 castles and ruins, each with its own unique story to tell. These ancient fortresses, perched atop hills and nestled amidst lush forests, have a mystical charm that transports you back in time.
Slovakia’s natural beauty is equally captivating. Its mountains, rivers, and caves offer endless opportunities for adventure and exploration. It’s also not lost on me that I have heritage in the Slovakia and Hungary region, which makes me even more excited to learn more about Slovak culture and its people.
Romania is a fascinating country located in Southeast Europe, best known for its rich folklore. Its most famous is the legend of Count Dracula, a horror story known around the world. The country’s capital, Bucharest, boasts a mix of stunning architecture from different eras, including the colossal Parliament Palace.
Romania is also home to the Carpathian Mountains, which offer breathtaking landscapes and diverse wildlife. Additionally, Romania’s cultural heritage is reflected in its Roman, Ottoman, and Austro-Hungarian-inspired art, music, dance, and cuisine.
Known as the playground of the rich and famous, the European country of Monaco lies along the French Riviera. It’s synonymous with luxury, glamour, and extravagance. But beyond the lavish lifestyle, Monaco has much more to offer.
Monaco’s stunning location between the Alps and the Mediterranean Sea is among the most beautiful in southern Europe. Its mild climate, beautiful gardens, and scenic beaches make it a paradise for nature lovers. Its cuisine, a blend of French and Italian influences, is a must for any food lover, and its museums and opera add to its cultural richness.
Another European country I must visit is Azerbaijan, a country located on two continents. Known as the ‘Land of Fire’, Azerbaijan is a melting pot of cultures, traditions, and landscapes. Its unique location, at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, adds to its allure.
Azerbaijan’s landscapes are as diverse as its culture. From the Caspian Sea’s shores to the Caucasus Mountains’ peaks, its natural beauty is breathtaking. The Gobustan National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with its ancient rock carvings, is a testament to the country’s rich history.
In conclusion, European countries are a must-visit for any traveler. They offer a rich tapestry of cultures, histories, and landscapes that are unrivaled. From the Baltic states’ pristine beauty to the Mediterranean’s glamour, each European country is a unique gem waiting to be discovered.
Traveling through European countries is not just about visiting places. It’s about immersing yourself in diverse cultures, exploring rich histories, and experiencing the beauty of nature. It’s about discovering the charm of Europe – one country at a time. So, pack your bags and embark on your own European adventure. You simply cannot miss it!