I was recently talking with an old friend of mine and he described to me his time in the Army and stationed in Germany.
I asked him what all places he visited when he was on leave, and he told me a few but when I asked about some well-known sites, he said, “I didn’t think of that.”
One of the biggest selling points in joining the Army or any branch of the military for that matter is to travel and see places we never would have had the opportunity to see.
That is why I am writing today’s post.
I want to point out the many great locations that you should visit in Europe when on military leave.
Do keep in mind that you will need a passport.
Even military members must have a passport when traveling on leave.
The only way a passport is not needed is if you are on orders.
So, get your passport and try to visit all of these 31 places in Europe when you are on leave.
These places are in no particular order.
1: Venice, Italy
This is a location that you will love.
And, if your mate is with you, even better.
Take your time and enjoy the amazing architecture as you float down one of the canals that make this city popular.
2: Herculaneum, Italy
See how the rich Romans lived in this town that was destroyed when nearby Mount Vesuvius exploded with fire and lava.
The preservation from the lava was unreal.
You can really gain a true understanding of the Roman culture when you visit this UNESCO World Heritage site.
3: Amsterdam, Netherlands
The capital city of the Netherlands is a must see.
I suggest renting a bicycle and traveling as the locals do.
There are some amazing museums and structures in this city.
But do watch your wallet as there are a fair share of criminal elements too.
4: Versailles, France
Versailles is near Paris and is also a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Known for the great Palace of Versailles, this is a site you definitely should visit.
Versailles has a rich history in the monarchy of France.
5: Zadar, Croatia
This ancient city is located on the Adriatic Sea.
There has been evidence that the area was inhabited in the Stone Age.
The rich history and beautiful beaches make this a great place to visit while on military leave.
6: Mezquita de Córdoba
Located in Andalusia, Spain, this great cathedral was first a Catholic worship site.
When Muslims conquered the area, they destroyed the original structure and built a mosque.
The Christians retook control and the Mezquita is now Catholic.
Muslims have tried to gain access to say their prayers, but the Vatican will not allow it.
This old structure is well worth visiting.
7: Strasbourg, France
This large city in France is on the German border.
It has a heavy German influence, and you will be amazed at the architecture both old and modern.
You will want to take your time and see what you can see in Strasbourg.
There is so much, you will probably want to visit several times.
8: The Pantheon
In Rome, Italy sits a very magnificent structure that was built under the reign of the Roman emperor Hadrian around the year 126AD.
With its round interior and ornate Corinthian columns, it has been used as a model for many other buildings over the years.
9: Saarburg, Germany
This beautiful little town in Germany is a perfect getaway from the military hustle and bustle.
This town was originally started in 964, and the architecture shows the age.
10: Vík í Mỳrdal, Iceland
The beach near this Icelandic community is absolutely breathtaking.
The sand is a black and you may wonder how it is this color.
It is from volcanic rock that has been crushed to sand over many years.
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11: Provence, France
Not actually a town, but a complete territory in Southeast France.
You will take in so much beauty in this area that you may be in danger of being awol.
Do go back and revisit Provence again on your next leave.
This large palace was built by an Islamic emir in the 1200’s.
It is a highly visited tourist location, and is located in Granada, Andalusia, Spain.
13: Barcelona, Spain
Barcelona is the 2nd largest city in Spain.
It is located on the Mediterranean Sea, and the architecture will astound you.
There is so much to do and see in Barcelona, that this city alone could take your whole leave.
14: Eiffel Tower
You must absolutely see the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France.
And, you must go to the top deck and look over the whole countryside.
15: Sistine Chapel
This is the location where new Catholic Popes are elected.
This chapel has artwork by the famed Michelangelo, and the ceiling is his best known.
It is located in Vatican City.
This is a city of ruins that can give you a great idea of the Greek civilization of those times.
Ephesus is located in present day Turkey, but was under Greek rule when it was prosperous.
I highly recommend that you visit Ephesus.
17: The Acropolis
There are many various acropoleis in Greece, the Acropolis is known the best because of where it stands up and above the city of Athens.
There are several ancient buildings standing with the Acropolis.
You will want to take pictures.
The Colosseum in Rome was built to hold nearly 80,000 people.
It was used to display gladiator fights, shows and other entertainment for the Romans.
This is a popular tourist location.
This area is in Southwestern Turkey.
It is full of hot springs and limestone deposits called Travertine.
People flock to Pamukkale to allow their bodies to enjoy the natural hot springs.
Many believe there are healing affects from it.
20: Lake Bled
When you first see this majestic lake, you will think you are looking at a painting.
The view is tremendous, and in the midst of this lake is an island with a church and other buildings.
Lake Bled is in Slovenia.
21: Holy Week In Seville, Spain
If you can take your leave on the week leading up to Easter, Seville, Spain is a great choice.
It is known as Semana Santa de Sevilla, and there are processions like you have never seen before.
No matter your spiritual beliefs, this is still a wonderful thing to see.
22: Tuscany, Italy
Tuscany is a large region in central Italy.
Tuscany is rich in artistic history.
You can see amazing works of art, landscapes and sip some of the amazing wines of the region.
23: Ayasofya Müzesi
This piece of architecture is located in Istanbul, Turkey.
Originally built as an Orthodox church which was Greek, it later became a Muslim mosque.
It is now a museum that holds many amazing artifacts.
24: Zermatt, Switzerland
The Matterhorn is an amazing mountain on the border of Switzerland and Italy.
The town of Zermatt, Switzerland sits below the Matterhorn.
Whether you plan on climbing this peak or not, Zermatt is a great place to spend a vacation.
25: Brandenburg Gate
Built in the 1700’s, this gate within the midst of Berlin, Germany was built to represent peace.
It has been the location of many demonstrations in a divided Berlin when Communists controlled the East partition.
The Brandenburg Gate should be a site on your military leave.
26: Château de Chenonceau
This château is in the Loire Valley of France.
The design is unique.
It spans the river Cher, and those who stayed were atop the river.
Every year, thousands of people come to see this architectural marvel.
27: Charles Bridge
A visit to Prague, Czechoslovakia is well worth your time and while there, you need to see Charles Bridge.
The first stone of this bridge was laid by Charles IV himself in 1357.
It has held up through many tragedies.
28: The Atlantic Road
A visit to Norway deserves a drive on the Atlantic Road.
I bet you have never seen anything like it.
It is just over 5 miles long and has 8 bridges.
It feels as if you are driving in the ocean.
29: Leaning Tower of Pisa
Please don’t be one of those tourists who has a picture taken of them pretending to hold the tower up.
This bell tower started sinking on one side during construction in the 1100’s.
Located in Pisa, Italy, you really need to see it.
30: The Blue Mosque
This creative design gives this mosque in Istanbul, Turkey the name Blue Mosque.
Blue tiles are on the interior walls and at night, the domes are all lighted with blue bulbs.
The real name is Sultan Ahmed Mosque, and it was erected in the early 1600’s.
31: Sainte Chapelle
When you see the stained glass in this chapel of, and for, royalty, you will probably gasp.
Located in Paris, this structure was completed in 1248 for Louis IX.
He used it to safeguard his collection of relics from Christ which included the Crown of Thorns.
There you have some great ideas for places to see in Europe while on military leave.
Do you have any other places you would add to this list?
What is your favorite?
Leave your comments below.
Former Army Major (resigned)
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