Europe’s capitals, beach resorts and historical towns offer suitable attractions for all tastes, with cutting-edge architecture, idyllic sandy beaches, impressive heritage sites and notable monuments spread across the continent. Take in London’s iconic landmarks Big Ben and Tower Bridge before crossing the Channel to see mainland Europe’s offerings.

While away your days on a Spanish or Portuguese beach, or head inland to soak up the wonders of Vatican City, where breathtaking artworks by Michelangelo await. The pretty main square in Belgium’s Bruges makes for a pleasant stop, as does a trip to Germany’s Cologne Cathedral on the River Rhine’s banks.

Trekking: Europe as a whole boasts a wide variety of different treks, many of which are already mapped out but some routes which leave it up to you to decide. You will pass through stunning natural sights as well as historic monuments such as castles, ancient villages and ruins.

Diving and snorkeling: despite not having the tropical shores of the Caribbean or Asia, Europe still has some impressive dive sites which are affordable and beautiful. There are a number of wrecks throughout the continent, many of which were casualties from WWII. There is also the chance to see rare sights such as killer whales and seals.

Surfing: the sport of surfing is a popular pastime in Europe and destinations such as the south coat of England are very popular with surfers from around the world. Other popular places include Portugal and the southern coasts of France and Spain.

White water rafting and kayaking: water sports are very common throughout Europe, especially extreme sports such as whitewater rafting. There are a number of destinations to choose from which will allow you to experience some ferocious rapids, or simply take it easy and enjoy the scenery on a more peaceful journey through Europe’s countryside.

Skiing: regardless of whether you are after fast slopes, cross country skiing or something for the whole family, you will find it in Europe.

Mountain climbing / rock climbing: climbers will not be short of mountains or rocks to climb on a visit to Europe. Some mountains are harder than others and should only be attempted by experienced climbers, but there are many other mountains which are suitable for people without any experience although it is important to have a good level of fitness. Some of the most famous mountains include Mount Olympus, Ben Nevis and Mont Blanc.

National parks and reserves: Europe is home to a large number of different national parks, with some countries even boasting a few parks dotted around their landscapes. These reserves are mainly all open to the public to explore on foot with the exception of part of Pieniny National Park in Poland.

World Heritage sites: with cities which ooze historical importance, it is no surprise that Europe is brimming with World Heritage sites. The list contains cities, ruins, churches and natural edifices all of them cultural highlights and must-sees.

Spiritual places and trips: some of the most famous religious shrines in the world can be found in Europe such as Parthenon in Athens and Stonehenge in England. Water from Lourdes is believed to have great healing power while a trip to Vatican City might allow for a glimpse of the Pope. All of these can be found in Europe along with a number of other significant spiritual places.

Islands and beaches: Europe’s coastline boasts beautiful beaches and clear blue waters, ensuring a perfect getaway. If you want to relax on a beach before heading out to party at night, there are a number of options to choose from; likewise, if you would rather chill out during the day and enjoy fine food and a few glasses of wine before bed, your choice can be accommodated. The beaches and islands offer something for everyone.

Festivals and events: Europe comes alive at Christmas with decorated trees and carol singers.