Are there any places to visit in Europe which can truly rival the wild experience of the Scottish Highlands? Many people may feel a comparison between Scotland and Europe is futile. Mainly because Europe is often doused in delicious sunshine while Scotland frequently enjoys high winds, slanted rain, and perpetually cloudy skies. But there are more similarities than you think. White, sandy beaches, dramatic cliff faces, and delightfully quaint seaside villages, to name a few. Believe it or not, there are places to visit in Europe which can evoke a similar sensation to the majestic Scottish Highlands. Who’s to say which destination is better?
Thinking of going on a European adventure but not sure how to narrow down all those locations? If you enjoyed travelling to the Scottish Highlands, you’ll love the sunny destinations in Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, and Italy we’ve picked out for you. Tick these places to visit in Europe off your bucket list and see how they compare to Scotland’s undulating landscapes.
Table of Contents
1. Lauterbrunnen in Switzerland
2. Spain’s Coast of Death
3. Lagos in Portugal
4. Italy’s Cinque Terre
Did you like the village of Glencoe nestled in the mountains? Then you’ll be delighted by Lauterbrunnen in Switzerland.
One of the most spectacular things about quaint Glencoe village is that it’s flanked by impressive peaks. It’s also the ideal base for many of the scenic walks around the Glencoe valley. Lauterbrunnen is one of the best places to visit in Europe to recreate this enchanting environment.
Lauterbrunnen enjoys a similarly beautiful geographical spot within the Swiss Alps. The village itself is stunning and is dotted with postcard-perfect alpine chalets. It’s surrounded by mountain crags and rushing waterfalls, all easily accessible for a short stroll or longer hike. A pretty good contender for one of the best places to visit in Europe if you ask us.
If you find yourself craving the peaceful surroundings and breathtaking scenery you discovered at Glencoe, Lauterbrunnen will not disappoint.
You can visit Lauterbrunnen on Rabbie’s Italian Lakes and Swiss Alps Explorer 6-day tour.
If you enjoyed visiting Dunnottar Castle and Scotland’s east coast, you’ll love the Coast of Death in Spain.
Scotland is famous for its imposing castles by the sea. The embodiment of this image is surely Dunnottar Castle on the east coast. Gazing out of the ruins to the ocean crashing violently against the rocks below is truly a sight to behold. Surely there are no places to visit in Europe which could rival this? Well, you’ll be happy to hear there is.
If this kind of scenery captures your imagination, you should certainly take a trip along Spain’s Coast of Death.
The plunging cliffs and rocky headlands proved fatal for many ships throughout history. Ancient civilisations were convinced this coastline was the end of the earth. It’s perhaps surprising that this sinister destination is now one of the best places to visit in Europe on holiday. It’s not just the ominous name that draws people to the Coast of Death. Landmarks such as the Virxe da Barca Sanctuary and Cape Finisterre Lighthouse also draw visitors, perfect for atmospheric holiday photographs.
This can be a difficult task to achieve when visiting the often-crowded beaches of Europe. But we’ll let you in on a little secret. Some of the best places to visit in Europe for empty beaches are in Southern France. There’re beaches here where you won’t have to elbow your way through dozens of tourists for a dip in the waves. And you can actually enjoy the cool water rather than jumping around in the freezing temperatures of the Atlantic Ocean on Luskentyre.
Reaching this memorable destination couldn’t be easier with direct flights to Spain from the USA and the UK.
It's almost an impossible task to pick a favourite beach in all of Europe. Luck for you, you'll be blessed with endless choice. A personal favourite of ours is wonderful Lagos, a town in the south of Portugal's Algarve region. The city itself is a fascinating hub of history, filled with delicious places to eat and enough to keep you entertained... including the beautiful beaches.
Praia de Dona Ana, for example, is one of Lagos' most popular beaches and fair enough, too, when you see just how stunning it is. Imagine sunset here. Your feet in the warm water, a dusting of sand and suntan across your skin. Kind of sounds perfect, doesn't it?
And after you've spent some time relaxing by the ocean, Lagos' nightlife and easily day-trippable adventures are waiting for you.
If you were enchanted by the fishing villages of Tobermory and Portree, you’ll adore Cinque Terre in Italy.
Vibrant and quaint seaside villages are an integral element of Scottish tourism. The charming coastal capitals of Mull and Skye are particularly pleasing on the eye. Anyone who has wandered their picture-perfect streets and browsed the curated local boutiques will know the simple pleasure of immersing oneself in village life. To replicate their charming atmosphere, Cinque Terre is one of the best places to visit in Europe.
While Cinque Terre has certainly increased in popularity over the years, its magic prevails. And if you’re a fan of cute pastel houses, the five villages that make up this little wonderland will deliver the goods. A rainbow of homes are perched on rugged cliffs running down to sheltered coves. You can wind your way through the twisting streets and even trek from village to village. You don’t need to ask us twice to stop to dine al fresco on terraces overlooking the coast. Places to visit in Europe don’t get much more delightful than this. Exploring Cinque Terre is a pleasure and basking in the beauty of the scenery is one of the top reasons travellers choose to visit.
You can visit Cinque Terre on Rabbie’s Cinque Terre, Florence and the Flavours of Tuscany 6-day tour.
Were you fascinated by the wonders of Skara Brae on Orkney or the Clava Cairns near Inverness? Pompeii in Italy will be one of the best places to visit in Europe for you.
Many of Scotland’s ancient sites are shrouded in mystery. Yet others shed light on fascinating aspects of bygone cultures. History buffs flock to Skara Brae, the Clava Cairns, and various mystifying stone circles dotted around the Scottish Highlands. Whether you hope to uncover knowledge which once was lost or simply experience what it’s like to stand where people lived hundreds of years ago, these encounters can be humbling. One of the best places to visit in Europe to recreate this humbling experience is Pompeii.
Pompeii is a haunting place frozen in time and visiting it can be both fascinating and unsettling. In 79AD, the giant volcano, Mount Vesuvius, erupted. It covered the entire city, including many of its inhabitants, in volcanic ash. Find out how this ash preserved the buried city for centuries and wander the deserted streets to gain an insight into the ways these ancient people lived. You don’t have to be a history buff to appreciate that Pompeii is one of the best places to visit in Europe.
Afterwards, you may wish to climb the active volcano yourself. Gaze down into the gaping crater which caused so much destruction. Then take in the awe-inspiring panoramic views of the landscape below. The geography may be different but climbing to see mind-boggling beautiful views is certainly part and parcel of visiting the Scottish Highlands. If you enjoy this kind of holiday, Pompeii is without a doubt one of the best places to visit in Europe.
You can visit Pompeii on Rabbie’s Pompeii, the Amalfi Coast and Irresistible Italy 6-day tour.
We hope this guide to the best places to visit in Europe has helped you to narrow down options for your next adventure, whether you’re catching a direct flight to Portugal from the USA, or driving through the Swiss Alps. Will you head to the sparkling Mediterranean coast or go inland to discover natural and historical wonders? Wherever you journey, you may find a few more comparisons to bonnie Scotland than first anticipated. For more travel inspiration and to be the first to hear about our tours, sign up to our newsletter today.