Ever since classical times, Western Europe has been at the forefront of humanity’s cultural and social evolution. The legacy of ancient pioneers – from the ancient Greeks and the Renaissance artists to the Victorian industrialists – is preserved in historic capitals such as Athens and Rome. But you only have to look at the skyscrapers revolutionising London’s riverscape or the rise of avant-garde buildings such as Berlin’s Reichstag and the Louvre in Paris to realise that the region isn’t resting on its historic laurels. It still has some of the world’s best restaurants, art galleries and foremost thinkers in politics, science and the arts. Add an incredible variety of scenery packed into a relatively small area, and you’re left with a recipe for true travel bliss.