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Americans looking for something to blow their tax refund on should seriously consider coming to Europe. As a Londoner who has had quite a few adventures on the continent, I can tell you, it’s an eye-opening experience; and one that I highly recommend.  Another reason to check Europe off your bucket list now is to take advantage of the strong US dollar. It’s higher than it’s been in ages, which means you’ll have more euros and pounds to make your first-time a great time.

Here are my recommendations for Americans looking for the best cities to enjoy sun and sea, partying or culture.

Sun and Sea

If you’re looking for a holiday to enjoy the sun and sea, I recommend Italy, Croatia, Malta or Greece for first-timers:

For the most part, these countries have affordable airfares, cheap and easy public transport, and you can find great places to stay from hostels to 4-star hotels. The best time to go is between June and August when summer is raging and the Mediterranean sea is warm.


IN ITALY, Sicily is where you’ll find the best beaches, many with crystal clear waters and gorgeous views.

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Scala dei Turchi (Sicily)
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Cala-rossa-favignana (Sicily)
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Panarea (Sicily)

Another gorgeous area of ITALY is Baja Sardinia which boasts a large number of sandy beaches (including pink sandy ones) and beautiful fish and rock formations. You can also go island hopping to the Archipelago di Maddalena, which is packed with restaurants, beautiful sights, and lovely waters.

PinksandbeachSardinia


ALL OF GREECE is beautiful but Naxos is a good choice for first-timers because there are lots to do. You can enjoy great mountain views, pulsating nightlife, visit ruins and temples, and soak up the sun on endless golden sandy beaches with crystal clear waters.

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Plaka Beach is visually delightful
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Pick up some handmade sandals to bring back to the States

MALTA IS HOME TO THE BLUE LAGOON and it is blindingly gooooorgeous!!!  The water is so clear that it is almost like being in nature’s swimming pool. Venture across the lagoon and you will find a second, smaller beach, where two rock formations meet over the water. If you can brave it, squeeze through the small (two-person sized) crack between the rocks and swim over to the other side. Your holiday memories will thank you.

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Welcome to the Blue Lagoon (Malta)

SPIAZA SUZAK, CROATIA, is a sandy island with spectacular views and beaches to die for. It is definitely worth visiting this tranquil and unspoiled spot for some peace and quiet.

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Picturesque view on sandy Lovrecina beach on Brac island, Croatia

Culture

If it’s art, architecture, and culture you crave, Europe will spoil you and cities like Prague, Paris, London, Athens and The Vatican are the best bets for Americans visiting Europe for the first time to see. 

THE VATICAN is simply spectacular. Housing some of the oldest and most renowned pieces of art, sculptures and even ceilings in the world, it’s not to be missed!

PRAGUE is visually stunning, and it is also very affordable. It’s a highly historical city with endless things to do and places to visit such as Prague Castle and St George’s Basilica.

Visit Prague

PARIS screams culture and delicacies. Often referred to as the most romantic city in the world, it’s a great destination whatever your relationship status, whoever you’re with and even if you’re alone. The Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and the Musée d’Orsay are particularly culturally enriching sights.

LONDON, again, omitting favoritism, is one of the most vibrant cities in the world. With endless palaces, parks, and museums, it’s a great European stop if you’re looking for culture. And it helps that we understand your funny English.

ATHENS is, in my opinion, the gem of Greece. Home to the Acropolis and countless ancient Greek ruins you’ve read about in literature, your inner culture vulture will be firmly satisfied with a visit here.


Party

Check out London, Amsterdam, Barcelona, and Berlin if you’re looking for spectacular night-life

You may have heard that Ibiza is the party capital of Europe, but as a Londoner, I have to object. Call me biased, but I think London is by far an exceptional city to party in. Not only are there hundreds of clubs, pubs, and bars of all kinds, depending on whether you’re in SoHo or Fulham you will get a huge difference in music, style, and vibes. Plus, during the day there is plenty to do whilst you recover from those Tequila shots!

The Egg in London

The Egg is a warehouse-style club in  King’s Cross, which since its opening in 2003, has been considered one of London’s best clubs.

Partying in Amersterdam is EPIC

There’s one word to describe partying in Amsterdam and that word is EPIC! The large number (and huge variety) of night-time activities that Amsterdam has to offer will keep you buzzing.

The Spanish have a habit of partying until muy tarde and when you visit Barcelona, you will also have enough sun, sea and beautiful buildings to keep you entertained during the day.

Get ready to bring out your inner hipster, because Berlin is where it’s all going down! Known for its exuberant, sometimes maddening assortment of clubs and places to party, Berlin is guaranteed to keep you dancing all night long.

Resources:

https://www.airbnb.com/

http://www.booking.com/

http://www.hotels.com/

http://www.hostelbookers.com/

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/

http://www.tripadvisor.com/


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Written by

Jacqueline Attwood

Jackie is a northern English girl living in 'The Big Smoke', London. She enjoys her work as a Digital Marketer and is passionate about multimedia including content creation and graphic design. She's almost as passionate about peanut butter as she is about fitness (which she needs to shift the peanut butter!)