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Europe is less than half the size of the United States, yet it contains a dizzying array of climates and cultures, from sunny Greece to the misty North Sea, and from Spain’s whitewashed villages to...

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Barcelona, Spain

On the northeast coast of Spain, overlooking the Mediterranean, Barcelona is a vibrant port city, packed with centuries of iconic art and architecture—Gaudí and Picasso both called it home—and lined with sunny white-sand beaches. Explore the Catalan capital's tourist attractions and historic neighborhoods, Modernisme and world-renowned art museums, galleries and local crafts shops—some of which are centuries old and stock traditional Catalan wares. After you see the sights, there are lively tapas bars around every corner where you can stop for a drink, a café amb llet (Catalan for espresso with steamed milk) or a snack, no matter the hour.

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St. Petersburg, Russia

St. Petersburg, Russia, emerged from the vision of one man, Czar Peter the Great, at the beginning of the 18th century and was the country’s capital until the Russian Revolution. Pushkin called it Russia's "window to Europe," and like Venice and Amsterdam, the city was built on a network of canals. Among the city's notable sites, the Hermitage is its most famous. One of the world’s greatest art museums, its collection includes some three million objects. Performing arts, too, abound: Many of Russia’s greatest ballets, plays and operas premiered at the Mariinsky Theatre. Nearby, the summer residences of the czars are dazzling gilded Baroque palaces.

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Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy

Rome is both a modern bustling city and an ancient open-air museum. You can walk in the footsteps of emperors, have coffee in Renaissance piazzas and see contemporary art all in one afternoon. Your sightseeing time in Rome begins at the nearby port of Civitavecchia, a seaside town with roots that stretch back to the Etruscan era. Once in the Eternal City you can fill your day with museums, churches, archaeological sites, traditional trattorias, artisan shops and, of course, gelato. The Colosseum and the Vatican Museums are Rome's superstar attractions, but there are plenty of quieter gems to explore.

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