10 Best Destinations for Cultural Tourism in Europe

  >  Cities   >  10 Best Destinations for Cultural Tourism in Europe
Discover some of the best destinations for cultural tourism in Europe and learn more about the cultural tourism phenomenon around the world.

If there is something that characterizes Europe is the fact of being rich in cultural tourism. Cultural tourism in Europe is the number one reason why many people visit different countries across the continent. If you think about it you’ll notice that you visit places like Rome to see the Colosseum, or Amsterdam to see Ann Frank’s House. These places have become Cultural tourism products and people want to visit and see even if it’s only for that Instagrammable picture.

This blog post might include affiliate links that allows Traveleira to keep on operating without any additional cost for the readers. For each purchase done through these links, Traveleira receives a small commision. For any doubt, consult our Privacy Policy.

Maybe you don’t know this, but I pursued a Master’s in Cultural Tourism. Based on that, I decided to review some of Europe’s most characteristic places where you can experience cultural tourism.

What is cultural tourism?

Cultural Tourism refers to a form of travel that focuses on experiencing and immersing oneself in the cultural heritage, traditions, arts, and lifestyle of a destination. It involves visiting historical sites, museums, art galleries, and cultural festivals, and participating in local customs and rituals to gain a deeper understanding of the region’s identity and way of life.

From the expert point of view, you take the cultural assets of a specific location, city, or destination and give to it the value of a cultural product. It is even better when these cultural assets are UNESCO World Heritage Sites because it makes their value higher. The idea is to make these assets part of the elements that represent the touristic marketing mix of a destination. Think about the places you want to visit. When you are traveling, you want to visit its landmarks, restaurants, and you need a place to stay. All of these represent a touristic marketing mix. When you see an advertisement for a place, one of these might appear.

Cultural tourism seeks to foster cultural exchange, preserve and showcase the unique aspects of a community’s heritage, and promote appreciation and respect for diverse cultures around the world. Travelers who engage in cultural tourism often seek authentic and enriching experiences that go beyond mere sightseeing, allowing them to connect with the local people, history, and customs of the places they visit.

Athens, Greece – Cultural Tourism in Europe Where History and Mythology Collide

Athens, one of the most romantic vacations to Greece

We already know that there are no better couple trips than some romantic vacations to Greece. Athens is widely known, not only as a romantic place but a city where history and all that Greek Mythology collide. Let’s go through some of the most iconic places in Greece that embellish the spirit of cultural tourism in Europe.

The Acropolis: Crowned by the iconic Parthenon, the Acropolis stands as a symbol of ancient Greek civilization. It is a breathtaking manifestation of architecture and engineering that has withstood the test of time and represent the spirit of a civilization that lived long ago.

The Parthenon: If there is a monument to gaze in awe, that is the Parthenon. The Parthenon is a magnificent temple dedicated to the goddess Athena, exemplifying the pinnacle of ancient Greek art and design.

Plaka District: Get lost in the charming alleys of Plaka, the oldest neighborhood in Athens. Here neoclassical buildings, quaint cafes, and artisan shops blend with ancient ruins manifesting the true values of Cultural Tourism in Europe.

National Archaeological Museum: Treasures of the Past Delve into the past at the National Archaeological Museum, home to an impressive collection of artifacts that shed light on Greece’s rich cultural heritage.

Rome, Italy – Cultural Tourism in Europe Embellishing Art and Heritage

join a tour in the Vatican museums, one of the most unique tours in Rome

If there is a place where you can experience Cultural Tourism in Europe, that is Rome. Embark on unique tours in Rome that will take you to discover the best of their history and heritage. Let’s go beyond the best place to stay in Rome and analyze its marvels.

The Colosseum: The Colosseum, the largest amphitheater ever built, is a testament to Roman engineering prowess. Explore its magnificence and discover one of the greatest marvels of cultural tourism in Europe.

Vatican City: Get lost in the Vatican Museums and learn more about Roman Catholic Church History and heritage. Discover the spiritual heart of Christianity within Vatican City. Visit the St. Peter’s Basilica and also the Sistine Chapel ceiling which is decorated with Michelangelo’s masterpiece.

The Pantheon: Known for its spectacular domed ceiling, the Pantheon is an architectural wonder that is still unrivaled to this day. Stare at this marvel which is a representation of Roman heritage.

Roman Forum: Wander amidst the ruins of the Roman Forum, where once stood the political, religious, and commercial center of ancient Rome, a place brimming with stories of power and conquest.

Barcelona, Spain – A  Masterpiece of Cultural Tourism in Europe

Brenda frente al Arco de Triunfo, una de las cosas que ver en Barcelona

If there’s a city that has worked its Cultural Tourism most properly, that city is Barcelona. No city in the world has seen better results from hosting the Olympics games than Barcelona. From Gaudi’s marvels to the best food tours in Barcelona, this city is the best example of what Cultural Tourism is in Europe. Enroll in amazing guided tours in Barcelona and discover the deepest secrets of the city to understand better the true meaning of Cultural Tourism.

Sagrada Familia: Sagrada Familia, Gaudi’s magnum opus, is an ongoing work of art that fuses Gothic and Art Nouveau styles, capturing the essence of spirituality and nature. Sagrada Familia is scheduled to be completed in 2026.

Park Güell: Park Güell is an enchanting wonderland designed by Gaudi. It is adorned with colorful mosaics, whimsical sculptures, and panoramic vistas of the city below. Park Guell is one of those landmarks you can’t miss in Barcelona.

Gothic Quarter: Meander through the alleys of the Gothic Quarter, a historic neighborhood boasting buildings, charming squares, and hidden gems. This space guards some of the historic secrets of Barcelona.

Picasso Museum: Immerse yourself in the world of Pablo Picasso at the Picasso Museum, home to an extensive collection of the artist’s works, tracing his evolution from a prodigious young talent to a visionary master. The best part of this museum? It is free on the first Sunday of each month.

Paris, France – Cultural Tourism in Europe Based on Love and Art

Louvre Museum - Paris -

Paris is widely known for being the city of art and love, but if you ask me, I think that a weekend in Paris is always a great plan. This is another of those cities that rely on Cultural Tourism. There is so much history on every corner of this city that it can be neglected how much value its heritage has. Let’s go deeper into those iconic landmarks that make part of the most valuable assets of Cultural Tourism in Europe.

Louvre Museum: Embark on a journey through art history at the Louvre Museum, home to the Mona Lisa, the Venus de Milo, and an astounding collection spanning thousands of years. It is impossible to see the entire museum in a lifetime, but it is something you need to visit in this one.

Notre-Dame Cathedral: Gothic  Pay homage to Gothic architecture at the Notre-Dame Cathedral, a symbol of Parisian heritage and the backdrop to timeless tales like “The Hunchback of Notre-Dame.” (And I suggest you sing any of the soundtrack’s songs right in front of Notre Dame. Trust me that hits differently.) This Cathedral has been recovering from the fire in 2019.

Pere Lachaise Cemetery: Many will tell you that a cemetery isn’t a cultural tourism asset, but in Paris, this would be a lie. Pere Lachaise is an iconic cemetery where many important personalities in World History rest. Trust me, this is a necessary stop if you visit Paris.

Palace of Versailles: Learn more about the opulent world of French royalty at the Palace of Versailles, a breathtaking testament to extravagance, featuring magnificent gardens and grandiose chambers.

Lisbon, Portugal – Cultural Tourism in Europe Enclaved in Fado, History, and Hills

Lisbon is a jewel of cultural tourism in Europe

Lisbon, Portugal’s charismatic capital, casts a spell on visitors with its hauntingly beautiful fado music, historical landmarks, and captivating hillside vistas. If you’re not sure what fado is, it is Portugal’s national music genre. Their sad vocals make it sound so lovely that accompanied by the views of Lisbon, it feels like an enchantment. Imagine the nostalgic sound of fado melodies surrounding your lovely villa while you enjoy the view. Lisbon is a dream come true!

Alfama: Get lost in Lisbon’s oldest district! Alfama is the place where Moorish influence, narrow alleyways, and ancient churches create the most enchanting atmosphere. A true jewel of Cultural Tourism in Europe!

Belém Tower: Belém Tower is a UNESCO World Heritage site that once guarded the mouth of the Tagus River and it is still standing as a symbol of Portugal’s Age of Exploration.

Jerónimos Monastery: Admire the beauty of the Jerónimos Monastery, an architectural masterpiece celebrating Portugal’s golden age, an structure of Manueline style.

LX Factory: Experience the vibrant atmosphere of LX Factory, a creative enclave where former industrial buildings now house art galleries, design studios, and hip eateries. If you want to visit a vibrant community-breathing culture, this is the place to go!

Stockholm, Sweden – Cultural Tourism in Europe Meets Pop Culture

ABBA The Museum - Stockholm -

Being one of my favorite cities in Europe and the whole world, Stockholm never stops surprising me. If you ask me as a Cultural Tourism professional, I would say that Stockholm is one of the best case studies of successful cultural tourism in Europe in the last 10 years and I will get deeper on that. This city has an enchantment on its own and, it doesn’t matter if you visit once, twice or 10 times, there will always be something new to discover.

Gamla Stan: Gamla Stan is Stockholm’s medieval old town, where colorful buildings and charming squares harken back to the city’s roots. In this space, you will find one of my favorite cafes in the world: Chokladkoppen. Get lost in the colorful streets while you discover Swedish history.

ABBA The Museum: Dance your way through the ABBA the Museum, celebrating the legendary Swedish pop group, an interactive experience that allows fans to relive the glory days of disco. Remember I told you that Stockholm is one of the best case studies of successful cultural tourism in Europe in the last years? ABBA the Museum plays a huge role in this. In a 2020 study, it was determined that ABBA tourism represented a chunk of the tourism Stockholm and Sweden, in general, were receiving, and yes, pop culture and music it is still cultural tourism.

Tirana, Albania – Cultural Tourism in Europe Where History and Modernity Converge

Skanderbeg Square is one of the things to do in Tirana

Yes, I think we got to that part of this post when I am talking about places I truly love and that are real jewels of Cultural Tourism in Europe. There are so many things to do in Tirana that can be considered cultural tourism assets. A city with such a dark history like Tirana, needs to be valued for all that it has to offer that remembers all those years that should not come back. These are some of the cultural assets you will find in Tirana that will take you back to the darkest years of its recent history.

Skanderbeg Square: Skanderbeg Square, Tirana’s main square, is dedicated to the national hero Skanderbeg, where grand monuments and fountains serve as symbols of Albania’s pride and unity.

Bunk’Art 1 and 2: Descend into the depths of Bunk’Art 1 and 2, a series of underground bunkers converted into museums, offering insight into Albania’s communist history.

Ethem Bey Mosque: Admire the beauty of the Ethem Bey Mosque, an architectural masterpiece combining Ottoman and Islamic elements, standing as a symbol of religious tolerance. I was lucky enough to explore this Mosque and be able to see all the details from the inside and it’s such a marvel you shouldn’t miss.

Blloku: Blloku was once a restricted area reserved for the communist elite, but nowadays has been transformed into a trendy neighborhood with bustling cafes, bars, and a lively nightlife that you certainly need to visit.

Belgrade, Serbia – The Dynamic Crossroads of Cultural Tourism in Europe

Knez Mihajlova - Que ver en Belgrado, Serbia -

It is not a secret that Belgrade is another of my favorite cities in Europe and I believe that is Belgrade worth visiting hands down. There are so many things to do in Belgrade that have everything to do with cultural tourism in Europe. Considering that this city was a crossroad between West and East and that in this region World War I started, many cultural and historical assets remind us of the strategic position Belgrade has had throughout history.

Belgrade Fortress and Kalemegdan Park: Stand atop the Belgrade Fortress, an ancient citadel overlooking the confluence of the Danube and Sava rivers, and feel the weight of history etched into its walls. Located in Kalemegdan Park, this Fortress reminds us how strategic and still strong this city is while observing the panoramic views of the city.

Nikola Tesla Museum: Pay homage to the visionary inventor at the Nikola Tesla Museum where you can get a glimpse of his groundbreaking work in electricity and technology. If you have the chance to visit Belgrade, I would say to visit this museum and understand better how valued is Tesla’s figure in Belgrade. I will never forget a quote a friend in Belgrade told me: “Tesla is our Bad Bunny.” That quote hit where it should!

Skadarlija: Immerse yourself in the bohemian atmosphere of Skadarlija, a historic street filled with some of the best restaurants in Belgrade, live music, and a lively arts scene.

Oslo, Norway – A Scandinavian Haven of Cultural Tourism in Europe and Nature

Oslo is one of the jewels in cultural tourism in Europe

Another one of my favorite cities in Europe, Oslo is a haven for all of us who enjoy travel for culture. It was in Oslo one of the places where I have cried traveling and discovering one of the cultural assets that touched me the most: Henrik Ibsen’s Apartment. Being in touch with the place where one of my favorite playwrights lived the last years of my life softened my emotions. I am quite sure this is one of the effects of Cultural Tourism being done as it should. Let’s take a stroll on the rest of the amazing things to do in Oslo from a cultural perspective.

The Royal Palace: Observe the changing of the guards at the Royal Palace, a majestic symbol of the Norwegian monarchy nestled amidst lush gardens. If you ask me, I feel the Norwegian Royal Palace is one of the prettiest in Europe and it is worth it!

Vigeland Park: Stroll through Vigeland Park. This is an open-air sculpture garden featuring over 200 bronze and granite sculptures by artist Gustav Vigeland.

Oslo Opera House: Marvel at the sleek and contemporary Oslo Opera House, where the rooftop doubles as a public space with stunning views of the city and fjord. It is one of the top things to do to climb up to the Opera House roof and see the view of the city from there.

Girona, Spain – Where History and Culinary Delights Unite

Brenda en la catedral de Girona, una ciudad que visitar fuera de Barcelona

Girona is a special place in my heart because it was the place I lived and where I pursued my Master’s in Cultural Tourism. If you ask me, I will tell you there are plenty of things to do in Girona. It is a place that on its own, is known for its culinary treasures such as the Michelin Star restaurant El Celler de Can Roca, but also, there are many cities in Catalonia such as Barcelona that you can reach in just an hour.

Girona Cathedral: Marvel at the grandeur of the Girona Cathedral, an architectural masterpiece blending Gothic and Romanesque styles.

Onyar River Houses: Admire the picturesque houses lining the banks of the Onyar River, their colorful facades creating a stunning reflection on the water’s surface.

El Call: Step into the El Call, Girona’s Jewish Quarter, where ancient narrow streets and well-preserved buildings reveal centuries of Jewish history.

Cultural Tourism in Europe: Final Thoughts

Europe is filled with cultural wonders that you should see at least once in your lifetime. Explore Cultural Tourism in Europe and visit amazing places where you will be in touch with history and heritage.

Pin these amazing spots for Cultural Tourism in Europe!

Discover some of the best destinations for cultural tourism in Europe and learn more about the cultural tourism phenomenon around the world.

Brenda: + 34 years old + Puerto Rican + Viajera Boricua + Master in Cultural Tourism + Foreign Language Major + Hispanic Studies Minor + Portuguese + Italian + Russian + Literature Freak + ♥’s Indie Music + Volleyball Enthusiast + Tricolor do Morumbi(SPFC) + San Antonio Spurs +

post a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Que Ver en Belgrado, Serbia Mejores Hoteles en Punta Cana Festivales de Verano en Cataluña Películas para viajar por Puerto Rico