Coliseum at night with colorful blurred traffic lights.

This is the continent that invented the Grand Tour. And when you get here, it’s not hard to see why.

Whether you go to connect to your cultural past or sample the flavors of its ever-changing present, Europe has something for you to savor.

For a lot of folks new to international travel, their first destination of choice is likely to be Europe. Whether you grew up in English-speaking North America, Spanish- or Portuguese-speaking Central or South America or one of the French-speaking Caribbean nations, there lives inside you a cultural link that traces back to the other side of the Atlantic.

And if you decide to go looking to see what’s on the other end of that link, you’ll find a lot waiting for you, including some of the most visited cities on Earth.

One of those cities is in the United Kingdom — England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland. It’s the economic and cultural epicenter of it all, London. It may be British, but the whole world is there, almost every culture and nationality represented. Music from everywhere, food from everywhere, art from everywhere.

The same is true — in some cases even more so — across the English Channel in France, where Paris is not just synonymous with Europe, but with travel itself. Famous for fashion, its romantic joie de vivre attitude. Its art scene, its music scene, its fashion scene.

And if foodies ever formally adopt a city as their world capital, Paris might well be it.

With so much on offer in these two mega-cities, you’d be justified if you felt like skipping the rest of Europe.

That would be a mistake. Western Europe has so much to tantalize the traveler. Brussels and Bruges in Belgium. Madrid and Barcelona in Spain. Amsterdam and its smaller sisters in the Netherlands. Berlin, Munich and Cologne in Germany. Rome, Florence, Naples and Venice in Italy. Geneva. Vienna. The list isn’t endless, but it feels endless.

And that’s just Western Europe. There’s Greece. There’s Turkey. There are the nations that like the glittering Adriatic Sea. And the emerging economies of Eastern Europe.

Europe has so much to see and do, so much to fall in love with, that you may feel tempted not to return home.