Central Europe is a marvelous place for a trip. The cluster of countries that make it up is filled with diverse cultures, rich histories, museums that will make your jaw drop, and landscapes seemingly designed to inspire awe. While there are endless things to see in Central Europe, the following will attempt to create a highlight list of a few things that are well worth the visit.
Located in Germany, Neuschwanstein Castle is an inspiring sight. The construction was commissioned by King Ludwig II of Bavaria and is a 19th-century romantic-style fairytale castle built atop a height in the rugged hills near Hohenschwangau near Füssen. The castle was the original inspiration for Sleeping Beauty’s castle in the classic Disney film and the iconic Disney logo castle.
More than 1.3 million people visit this stellar site every year. It is worth noting that the site cannot be toured without a guide for security reasons, so you would do well to book your ticket in advance. Wait times for those who show up without tickets can be several hours.
Visit the Alps
The alps are a grand mountain range located in the center of Europe, touching eight countries, including France, Switzerland, Monaco, Liechtenstein, Austria, Germany, Slovenia, and Italy. An especially charming route to explore them would be to visit the charming Austrian city of Salzburg (famous for the film The Sound of Music). From there, you can take a bus to Innsbruck if you want to go deeper into the mountains.
If you’re someone that loves outdoorsy adventures, Salzburg or the alps are the place to find them. Hiking, canyoning, paragliding, and white water rafting are just a few of the options available for tourists.
Home to some of the world’s great cultural movements, particularly where music is concerned, Vienna has been home to Freud, Lenin, Mozart, and Beethoven. Palaces and museums filled with more lavish art than you could possibly imagine can be found in this pristine Austrian City.
While Central Europe is filled with stunning city after stunning city, the charm of Bratislava cannot be overstated. As one of the smallest capital cities in Europe, Bratislava is located on the banks of the Danube, and its old town is packed with medieval and Gothic architecture. Palaces, castles, and communist-era blocks can all be found in this city, along with lively bars, cafes, and boutiques. Don’t let its smaller size leave you wondering how to get around; airport taxi transfers for Vienna and Bratislava are easy to book and organize. A train is also an option.
Prague, Czech Republic
Sometimes called the city of 100 spires, Prague is filled with treasures from history. The castle at the center of Old Town in Prague dates back to the 9th century and the Charles Bridge to 1402. The world’s oldest working astronomical clock can be found in the city, as can the Orloj, which is 600 years old. The city is home to the oldest synagogue in Europe and the oldest Jewish cemetery, as well as cobbled streets with picturesque medieval and renaissance buildings.
Budapest is the Hungarian capital; it’s filled with history dating back to the Roman era (relics of Rome can be found in the oldest parts of Buda and Obuda. Pest is the third portion of Budapest, and it contains enchanting 19th-century architecture, St Stephen’s Basilica, and much more. The city has recently become a center for the entrepreneurial-minded and is experiencing a boost in popular culture as a result. A particularly popular point to visit in the city is the hot mineral baths.
The capital city of Poland has a picturesque Old Town in which every street and plaza seems like it’s part of a post-card. Cobbled streets connect Communist era historical sites marking wartime tragedies and classic images like Copernicus’ statue and the Holy Cross Church.
Nestled on Lake Lucerne and tucked into snow-capped mountains, the Swiss town of Lucerne is filled with medieval architecture and countless historical sites. The Musegg Wall was constructed in the 13th century; the Chape Bridge (which is filled with art) was constructed in 1333. There’s Hofkirche St. Leodegar (Church of St. Leodegar), built in 1633 atop a Roman basilica, and works by Picasso in the neoclassical Sammlung Rosengart. The city is vibrant and energetic and well worth the visit.
The above list should have presented you with several things worth visiting in Central Europe. As with any and all travel plans, be sure to regularly check up on government travel recommendations and restrictions as these are prone to change rapidly in response to world events.