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Your Fantasy Trip to Europe: Must See Attractions

Europe was the most popular international destination for Americans in 2004, receiving over 12.2 million US citizens from January to December. According to research done by the European Travel Commission, American travelers highly perceive the Old World for its history, culture, and food. In addition, the diverse experiences offered allows for a wider demographic to find attractions according to his or her preference. Its fashion, architecture, arts, gastronomy, and overall antiquity constitute the dream-like quality of any European vacation. Although the list of things to see here is virtually endless, there are some places that should occupy the upper echelons in your fantasy trip.

Tower of London

It became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988, recognized for its significant efforts in preserving the culture and heritage of Britain. The same structure that now houses England's Crown Jewels was also the place where its former owners, members of the Royal Family, were imprisoned or executed. Not surprisingly, stories abound of the headless ghosts of Sir Walter Raleigh and Anne Boleyn (one of Henry VIII's wives) walking the premises. A must see for your fantasy trip to Europe.

The Louvre Museum

If you see only one museum in Europe, this should be it - and especially on a fantasy trip. The Mona Lisa and The Venus de Milo alone are enough reasons to brave the crowds here but the Louvre is houses priceless Oriental, Egyptian, Greek, Etruscan, and Roman artifacts.

Eiffel Tower

Your fantasy trip to Europe would certainly not be complete without the Eiffel Tower. It was constructed in 1889 for the International Exposition of Paris and named after Gustav Eiffel, the same engineer who built the Statue of Liberty. The Eiffel Tower stands at 317 meters and was the tallest building in the world at the time of its opening. There are three observation platforms open to the public and each with stunning views of Paris.

Acropolis

Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Acropolis (loosely translated as "high city") was where Grecian civilization once thrived. Today, the ruins of four structures-the Parthenon, the Erectheion, the Temple of Nike, and the Propylaea-provide equally arresting glimpses into Greece's past - essential for your fantasy trip to Europe. Located at the center of Athens, the Acropolis is accessible through any form of transport or on foot.

Tivoli Gardens

Situated at the center Denmark's capital city Copenhagen, Tivoli Gardens is known to be one of the world's first amusement parks. The best time to visit on your fantasy trip is at night when all the parks lights are lit giving the place an even more magical feel.

Anne Frank House

After the discovery of their hiding place, Nazis took Anne Frank and her family from their secret quarters in the attic of an office building in Amsterdam. They were immediately sent off to concentration camps where Anne would later die of typhus. Back at the house, a friend of the family found the now famous diary Anne had kept while they hid. In it was written the thoughts and aspirations of the young girl, filled with courage and optimism despite their living conditions. Now restored and well-preserved, the house showcases the family's secret annex with photos and multimedia exhibits running all throughout. The site never fails to grip the hearts of its visitors from all corners of the world, whether you're on a fantasy trip or a real one.

The Sistine Chapel

Golden stars on a blue sky is what you would see on the Sistine Chapel ceiling if Michelangelo hadn't agreed to take on the task Pope Julius II appointed to him in 1508. He hesitated initially, not being as confident in his painting skills since he generally sculpted. But he proved himself wrong, eventually creating an elaborate illustration of the whole Bible while on his back. Most recently, it was the focus of the world's attention as the College of Cardinals voted Pope Benedict XVI to be the new leader of the Catholic Church. Your fantasy trip to Europe could not be complete without seeing the Sistine Chapel.

Leeds Castle

No European fantasy trip will be complete without a visit to a castle. Deemed as "the loveliest castle in the world," Leeds Castle was built in the year 1119 on a lake surrounded by lush green parkland. It has been home to many of British Royalty's most famous names, most notably, Henry VIII whose portrait hangs on the wall of the Banqueting Room named after him. Leeds Castle today is a venue for conferences, weddings, and other social gatherings. One unique attraction is the Dog Collar Museum with almost a hundred antique collars dating as far back as the 15th century.

The universal theme one will realize from going around Europe's many attractions is that modern advancements can and do complement the classic and traditional. Since technology is ever changing, it's exciting to ponder the future it will provide to the treasures of the past.