Five Large Countries in Europe that I want to explore this decade — Letter to Sons

Doug Keating
4 min readMay 9, 2024


Congratulations, you are going to Europe this year, 2024. However, you can’t decide where to go. In the last few blogs, I’ve shared large and small European countries that are perfect for a two-week vacation. It’s time to open up the aperture and look at other options. Today, I will share five large European countries I hope to explore this decade.

The criteria used to create this list

  1. I have not visited these countries within the last decade. I have never been to a few of them.
  2. It is safe to visit. That eliminates Russia and Ukraine for obvious reasons, along with others that share a common border with these countries.
  3. The country has to be considered one of Europe’s top twenty largest countries.

Large European Country #1 — Sweden

Sweden is located in northern Europe. I’ve never been to Sweden or other Scandinavian countries, but I am eager to visit this decade. I hear the capital city of Stockholm is magnificent. I’m a big fan of the show Vikings, which makes me want to go there even more. This country is also known for its natural beauty and friendly people.

Country #2 — Norway

Norway is another Scandavanian country I have never visited. It is known for its fjords and natural beauty. Look at the picture below. I’d love to hike there and take in all the outdoor sights.

Large European Country #3 — Poland

I have visited Poland before, although it was back in the ’90s to go Polish pottery shopping. I’d love to return and tour Poland’s magnificent castles, beautiful churches, and famous cities. The one question may be, is it safe to go to Poland? My answer is yes. The main reason is that many US troops are currently stationed in Poland. I would feel safe going here despite its location close to Ukraine and Russia.

Country #4 — Hungary

I have visited Hungary before. In the 1990s, I spent several days in the capital city of Budapest. Budapest is wonderful, making this country worth visiting. I would enjoy returning to explore more.

Large European Country #5 — Greece

Yes, Greece is one of the top 20 largest countries in Europe. I spent two weeks there back in the mid-90s and loved it. The food is delicious, the beaches are stunning, and the people are friendly. I want to get back there to explore more of the mainland and do some island hopping.

Bonus Country — Iceland

People may be surprised that Iceland is also among Europe’s largest 20 countries. Some people think it is a tiny island. It is not. I want to visit Iceland specifically for its natural beauty. My one concern is that volcanoes seem to keep erupting there. That does not sound like fun to me. Despite that challenge, I still want to visit.

One thing you may not like about these options

One thing I don’t like about a few countries I’ve included on this list is that they are expensive to visit. If you check the list of the most expensive countries in Europe to visit, several of the ones I’ve included, like Norway and Sweden, are at the top of that list. You may have to be a little frugal, plan accordingly, and budget more for these destinations.

I am Doug Keating, and this is my letter to my sons.

Originally published at on May 9, 2024.



Doug Keating

Leader and learner. husband and father. Novice blogger,, Founder of All The Way Leadership!