What’s on your bucket list? Everyone has different dreams and desires so every list will be unique. But one thing I’m sure of is there are dozens of things to do in Europe that are on many people’s bucket lists.
Here are 7 interesting things you can strike off your bucket list by visiting Europe.
#1. See the Northern Lights
The aurora borealis is a spectacular natural light display that may only be viewed from locations inside or near to the Arctic Circle. These polar lights are caused when solar wind disturbs the Earth’s magnetosphere.
Many people are fascinated by these light patterns in the sky, and photographs of this phenomenon have become popular. You can photograph this beautiful display if you grab your camera and travel to the northern areas of Iceland or Norway.
Tromsø is a city in the far north of Norway that lies inside the Arctic Circle. That means that every winter the city experiences 48 continuous days of night. During this time, the countryside surrounding Tromsø is an excellent location from which to observe and photograph those eerie lights in the night sky.
#2. Visit the birthplace of democracy
Our word “democracy” comes from the Greek word “demokratia”. Many consider Greece, and Athens in particular, to be the birthplace of democracy.
For many people, the ancient Acropolis in Athens is the symbol of the Athenian democracy that evolved there in the 6th century BCE. Today you can visit the Acropolis citadel and marvel at surviving Ancient Greek temples, like the Parthenon and the Temple of Athena Nike.
Other important ideas were born in Ancient Greece, such as philosophy and the Olympic Games. At the foot of the Acropolis, you can visit the Theatre of Dionysus, where Sophocles and Euripides premiered their famous tragedies, like Oedipus Rex. And nearby is the ancient Panathenaic Stadium, where the modern Olympic Games were born.
#3. Snowboard down a mountainside
The modern sport of skiing evolved in Scandinavia over a period of thousands of years. Today, the sport is most often associated with the Alps—a huge mountain range that spreads across eight European countries.
However, the most modern and thrilling evolution in skiing is snowboarding. And many of Europe’s top ski resorts now provide facilities for snowboarding enthusiasts.
You can find snowboarders at all the top ski resorts, like Chamonix, Hinterglemm, Les Arcs, Saalbach, and Val Thorens. If you want to try your hand at this Adrenaline-pumping sport, then Avoriaz in the French Alps is especially renowned for snowboarding.
#4. Eat French food in a genuine Parisian Café
French cuisine is considered by many to be the best food in the world, and Paris is where chefs from all around the world congregate to attend culinary academies. For a café to survive in Paris, outside of the tourist trap areas, it must provide excellent food.
If you’re a dedicated foodie, then Paris is where you need to go to eat genuine French food. It’s also the most romantic city in the world and the place where you can see the most famous painting in the world.
So, come to Paris. Listen to the bells of Notre Dame. Climb the Eiffel Tower. Visit the Louvre to see the Mona Lisa. But, more than anything else, consume that fantastic gourmet food.
#5. Swim inside the crater of a live volcano
There are many live volcanoes in the world today. However, the Santorini Caldera in the Aegean Sea is an especially interesting one. Its major eruption around 1600 BCE may be the origin of the ancient legend of Atlantis.
Visitors to the beautiful island of Santorini can take cruises around the caldera and visit the two tiny islands at its center. These islands still display continuous volcanic activity. Nea Kameni, the larger island, features many active sulfur vents.
A small cove on one side of Palea Kameni, the smaller island, features an underwater hot spring. This spring turns the seawater a shade of orange and increases its temperature to between 860F and 950F. Visitors love to swim in the hot springs of Palea Kameni, which are believed to have therapeutic qualities.
#6. Listen to Big Ben chime midnight
Big Ben is perhaps the most famous bell in the world, and the Cambridge Chimes tune used by its clock to mark the hour is widely recognized. Tourists love to walk along the banks of the River Thames toward the Palace of Westminster or cross the nearby Westminster Bridge for a closer view of Elizabeth Tower and its distinctive clock.
On New Year’s Eve, Big Ben’s chimes are broadcast across the United Kingdom to sound in the New Year. Londoners often gather in nearby Trafalgar Square to sing Auld Lang Syne and listen to Big Ben’s twelve famous dongs.
But you don’t have to stay up late to hear the bell ring. You can simply visit Trafalgar Square shortly before noon and enjoy feeding the pigeons as you wait for the most famous alarm clock in the world to make itself known.
#7. Pay your respects in Auschwitz
Perhaps the single most horrific event in modern history was the Holocaust. Between 1941 and 1945, Nazi Germany systematically murdered 17 million people including 6 million European Jews and 11 million from other groups such as Soviet and Polish civilians, Roma, members of the LGBT community, and Jehovah’s Witnesses.
The single most moving and powerful memorial to the Holocaust is the Auschwitz Concentration Camp in Poland. Here you can visit the largest of the WWII extermination camps. Tours around the camp take in the ruins of the crematorium, the gas chambers, and the barracks. The museum there displays tragic reminders of the time, such as prisoners’ personal possessions, documents, and uniforms.
If you’ve ever seen a film like Schindler’s List or met survivors from the camps, you’ve probably often considered coming here someday. It’s a sobering experience that everyone should have at least once in their lives.
There’s much more you can do in Europe
That’s only a small selection of items you can cross off your bucket list by visiting Europe. There’s lots more to see and do in that fascinating continent. Whatever’s on your bucket list, I’m sure there’s something you’ll enjoy doing in Europe.
Disclaimer: This is a collaboration post.