Ferry terminal at Venice airport, where the boats are departing to the inner city of Venice

Which European cities are on your travel bucket list? In a world where you have access to photos of the most beautiful tourist destinations at your fingertips, it can be tough to narrow down where you want to go first. Here’s a guide to help get you started and useful tips on how to make your travels easier and more affordable.

Venice, Italy
When you think of Venice, images of gondolas and cobblestone streets might come to mind. The Grand Canal (or the Canal Grande as Venetians call it) is Venice’s main river and one of the biggest tourist attractions in this gorgeous city. You can explore it not only by gondola but also by private water taxis and water buses. There are a variety of nearby hotels to choose from, and the Hotel Canal Grande is renowned for being the most luxurious. The cheapest hotels are located in the mainland, but if you choose to book accommodations that are far from the city center, make sure you consider transportation ahead of time so you know if you’ll have to walk, boat, or bus to the city – you might end up having to do all three.

Venice Marco Polo Airport (VCE) is the most heavily used airport in Venice and serves as a destination for most of the major international airlines across Europe and North America. VCE is located just 13km away from the heart of the city and offers cheap car and bus services. If you feel like splurging, you can choose to take a boat ride to the city center. It’s a more expensive option, but it’s worth the view.

If you’re planning on going to Venice from another location within Europe or you’re traveling on a budget, Treviso Airport (TSF) might be a better option than VCE. It’s used by low-cost airlines and offers a ton of transportation options directly from the airport to the heart of Venice.

Paris, France
The Eiffel Tower and the Louvre Museum are probably on your list of landmarks you want to visit. There are a wide variety of chain hotels and Airbnbs located around the city center that are within walking distance to boutiques, gift shops, and cafes with decadent yet healthy dishes. If you’d prefer accommodations in this touristy area, make sure you book ahead of time as rooms fill extremely fast.

Charles de Gaulle Airport is the largest international airport in France and the second largest in Europe. Since it is used by most international airlines, it’s an easy option if you’re traveling from the U.S., Canada, or Australia. Beauvais Airport, on the other hand, is a more affordable and convenient option since it’s used by low-cost airlines.

Madrid, Spain
Madrid is full of immaculate, nostalgic sightseeing opportunities. Its streets are lined with museums, parks, and castles, including the Palacio Real. The landscape is a tropical Renaissance style.

The busiest airport in Madrid is Madrid Barajas Airport, and it is used by both high-end and low-cost airlines. Whether you’re traveling from somewhere else in Europe or from across the world, this is the airport that is closest to the city center and most affordable. There are also a ton of cheap but high-quality hostels nearby, which are perfect if you’ve booked an early morning flight out of Madrid and want to cut down on travel time and costs.

Santorini, Greece
Santorini is known for its brightly colored architecture and amazing wineries. Between experiencing the sensational views and tastes Santorini has to offer, you should make time to go on a volcano tour. You’ll spend the day exploring the active volcanic islands and relaxing in hot springs, a unique experience that’s sure to stand out in all your European ventures.

Thira Airport is Santorini’s international airport. However, there are no direct flights to this airport from the U.S., so you may find it easier to make Santorini one of the last European cities you visit. You can find cheap flights to Thira Airport from other major airports in Europe; however, flying out of London, England is most likely your cheapest option.

Once you book your first plane ride from your home country to Europe, you’ll be able to travel easily and spontaneously. Besides traveling by plane, train, or taxi, you can always choose to rent your own car if you plan ahead. Stay safe, but be open to exploring places you’ve never heard of before – you never know where they could lead.


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