Nyhavn Harbor on a sunny day in Copenhagen Denmark, one of the best cities to visit in Europe

35 Best Cities to Visit in Europe (Bucket List for City Lovers!)

A complex, interesting, beautiful city is among the most remarkable kinds of places we can experience in our lifetimes, and there’s no doubt that the best cities to visit in Europe rank among the absolute best in the world.

There’s something magical about cities: the best ones have a life all their own, made up of the millions of moments lived and stories told in (and about) them each and every day.

I truly believe that there’s a city for every personality when traveling, even for those who don’t consider themselves “city people”, so to speak, in their day-to-day lives.

Once upon a time, we didn’t think we loved cities… and then we fell in love with traveling.

We’ve since moved to Europe, and picked a beautiful city (Lisbon) as our home base.

We’ve rounded up the best cities to visit in Europe, from the absolute icons to smaller gems tucked in quiet(er) corners of the continent.

No matter what kind of European city you’re looking for, you’ll find it here.

Table of Contents

Once You Narrow Down Your Dream Cities in Europe…

The most iconic cities to visit in europe, other best cities to visit in europe (that are slightly less iconic), best small cities to visit in europe, more cool cities to add to your europe bucket list.

Trip to Italy Cost: View of Verona from Tower

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If you’re ready to start planning your trip in more detail after reading this guide to the best cities in Europe, consider checking out our guide to planning a trip to Europe next!

We also have a detailed guide to train travel in Europe , a guide to the best European road trips , several packing lists for Europe , and a roundup of the best travel tips for Europe here on Our Escape Clause that might help kickstart your general planning.

In addition, we’ve also written about most of these European cities in more detailed guides!

We’ll link relevant blog posts throughout this list of the best cities to visit in Europe, if you’re curious about our coverage of any particular city, you can use the search bar in the top right corner of the site to see what we’ve written.

Kate Storm and Jeremy Storm in front of St. Mark's Church--even if you're only seeing Zagreb in a day, it's definitely worth stopping by here!

These cities almost need no introduction: woven into our collective culture, from books to movies to historical stories, the most iconic cities to visit in Europe are certainly all well worth the trip to reach them. 

As one of the most visited cities on the planet, Paris tops plenty of Europe bucket lists around the world, and even travel bucket lists more generally.

Home to the iconic Eiffel Tower, the world’s largest art museum at the Louvre (not to mention the hundreds of other incredible museums in Paris), legendary cuisine, and plenty of other highlights like Notre Dame, Montmartre , and the beloved banks of the Seine, Paris is absolutely one of the best cities to visit in Europe.

Kate Storm in a gray dress standing in Rue de l'Universite in Paris with the Eiffel Tower behind her

The capital of the United Kingdom and once the seat of the most powerful empire in the world, London is positively packed with an interesting history and iconic sites.

However, London also feels like an extremely modern city, allowing for visitors to put together an excellent London bucket list that includes historical attractions like the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, and Trafalgar Square , right alongside the bustling Theatre District (London has one of the best theater scenes in the world).

Plus, for millennials like us, London is home to the Harry Potter Studio Tour and plenty of other related sights–not to mention plenty of Harry Potter-themed gifts and souvenirs to shop for!.

Big Ben and Parliament as seen from across the river. London is absolutely one of the best cities to visit in Europe.

It’s a close race, but on more days than not, we consider Rome to be our absolute favorite city in the world.

Nicknamed the Eternal City, Rome has a captivating quality of impressing upon you its endurance, its consistency, and its strength with every street explored and monument admired.

Home to icons like the Colosseum and Trevi Fountain as well as equally impressive spots that are nearly devoid of tourists, exploring Rome, and peeling back its layers one by one, can easily be a lifelong project.

Couple in front of Colosseum: Visiting Rome in Winter

Gaudi, beaches, and the Gothic Quarter : unique and fascinating Barcelona is an incredibly popular place to kick off European adventures!

With its colorful neighborhoods, coastal location, thriving city center, and utterly unique architecture, it’s not hard to see why.

Of course, the most famous landmark in Barcelona , its basilica La Sagrada Familia, remains incomplete: construction began in 1882 and is currently projected to wrap up in 2026!

view of park guell in barcelona spain, a top europe bucket list travel destination

With its stunning architecture primarily dating to the 17th-century Dutch Golden Age and its many canals juxtaposed with its modern reputation for partying, visiting Amsterdam can often feel like visiting a city of extremes.

Whichever part of the city appeals to you, Amsterdam is certainly worth visiting .

As one of the most popular cities to visit in Europe and one of the most unique cities in the world, Amsterdam lives up to its reputation as a compelling and incredibly beautiful place to visit.

Want to ditch (some of) the infamous crowds?

Consider bundling up and visiting Amsterdam in winter !

Canal in Amsterdam with a bridge visible to the right of the photo

Venice is, without a shadow of doubt, one of the most unique cities in the world–so of course it also ranks among the best cities to visit in Europe!

Venice’s mere existence is improbable.

Made up of 118 islands divided by 150 canals and then knitted together by 400 footbridges, Venice’s topography is like nowhere else.

Once a powerful empire that controlled the seas all the way to Crete and held the title of the wealthiest city in Europe, Venice’s 13th-century peak can still be felt in certain places today, including in its iconic Piazza San Marco , in its ornate palaces, and along its gorgeous bridges.

Before visiting, we were Venice skeptics–but less than a day into our first trip there, we were completely smitten with Venice.

Now, we can’t imagine that we’ll ever stop going back!

Girl in striped dress standing in front of Rialto Bridge in Venice Italy

Byzantium, Constantinople, New Rome: Istanbul has had many names throughout its more than 2500 years of history, and today it is celebrated as one of the most unique cities in the world.

With one of the longest and most complicated histories of any of these cities in Europe, Istanbul is actually, technically, only half European.

One half of the city lies on the European continent, and the other half, located an easy ferry ride across the Bosphorus Strait, is located in Asia.

In addition to being able to visit two continents in a single day, the top things to do in Istanbul include touring the phenomenal Hagia Sophia, shopping in the Grand Bazaar and Spice Market, admiring the Blue Mosque, and enjoying the views from the top of the Galata Tower.

Blue Mosque of Istanbul as seen from below the dome. Istanbul is one of the best European cities to visit.

Emphasis on slightly less iconic: these cities are still easily among the most popular cities to visit in Europe.

Unlike some of the longstanding icons above, though, many of these European cities gained (or regained) popularity on the tourism circuit at some point within the last few decades.

Prague or Budapest: Fisherman's Bastion

In our slightly biased opinion, as it’s one of our personal favorites, Budapest easily ranks among the top ten best cities to visit in Europe.

Set on the Danube, with its iconic Parliament nestled right up against the river and majestic architecture rising on both sides of the river, Budapest is simultaneously incredibly regal and beautiful, and incredibly laid-back and affordable.

Known for its compelling history, thermal baths that dot the city, stunning architecture, and engaging nightlife, there is an overwhelming number of things to do in Budapest !

And, it packs plenty of variety in, too: in Budapest, you can have breakfast in a luxurious coffee shop in the morning, explore the city’s caves and thermal baths in the afternoon, and then relax at a ruin pub in the evening–and that’s just within the first day!

Budapest or Vienna: Statue of Imre Nagy

Known as the City of a Hundred Spires, Prague absolutely looks the part of the quintessential European city, all ornate buildings framed by a winding river and overlooked by the majestic Prague Castle.

Once known as an offbeat European city to visit, the Prague of today is immensely popular (with the crowds to match, especially during the height of summer), but it is still absolutely magical to visit.

Be sure to meander your way across the Charles Bridge, explore the Prague Castle, admire the Old Town Square, and drink plenty of that famous Czech beer while visiting Prague .

And yes, the legend is true: at some restaurants, the beer is indeed cheaper than water!

Best Views in Prague: View from Old Tower Bridge

Less popular with foreign tourists than colorful Barcelona, but no less captivating, Spain’s capital city is simultaneously regal and relaxed.

Home to incredible sights like the Royal Palace, Prado Museum, and gorgeous Plaza Mayor, spending a few days in Madrid means having a chance to experience fantastic food, incredible art, and a hearty dose of Spanish culture.

Madrid’s biggest park, El Retiro, is among our favorite urban parks in all of Europe, and definitely belongs on your list of things to do in Madrid !

Puerta de Alcalá in Madrid Spain with yellow flowers in the foreground

As the largest city (and airport hub) on the French Riviera, Nice is both busy and beautiful.

In other words, Nice is exactly what you would hope for from a coastal city that boasts one of the most iconic urban beaches in the world!

A visit to Nice practically requires spending some time on the beach and a taking stroll along the picturesque Promenade des Anglais, of course, but there are plenty of other fun things to do in Nice as well.

While you’re there, be sure to climb Castle Hill, check out the Sun Fountain, and enjoy the colorful architecture of the old town.

Nice is also perfectly placed to use as a base for incredible day trips, including to nearby Monaco, Eze, St. Paul de Vence, and Menton.

view of promenade des angalis from above in nice france with med to the right

To be perfectly frank, Athens doesn’t rank among the most beautiful cities in Europe as far as we’re concerned… but it’s still one of the best cities in Europe to visit.

Greece’s capital is often used as a gateway to its (rightfully) famous islands, but the city itself absolutely deserves to be explored as well.

Athens is home to some of the most famous Greek ruins in the world, including the phenomenal Acropolis (where you’ll find the Parthenon) and the Temple of Olympian Zeus.

Ancient Greece is only the beginning of the story, though!

You’ll also find trendy neighborhoods like Plaka and incredible museums like the National Archaeological Museum when exploring Athens.

And, quite honestly, even if there was nothing else to do there, it would be worth visiting Athens just to eat enormous amounts of Greek food .

Athens Parthenon--if your dream trip includes this view, your choice between visiting Greece or Croatia is clear!

If there’s one word that comes to mind for describing Vienna, it’s regal.

From the world-famous opera house to the Hofburg Palace to the glitz and glamour of Vienna’s cafe culture, Vienna gives the impression of wealth, strength, and beauty at every turn.

This is hardly an accident: as the seat of the Hapsburgs for around 600 years, Vienna definitely shows signs of being ruled by a fairly modern empire.

For example, while other European city centers frequently maintain a good portion of their small streets and medieval architecture, wide swaths of Vienna’s were cleared away in favor of wide boulevards and sweeping avenues.

If you’re not sure when to visit Vienna, it’s hard to argue that there’s a better time than during the holiday season.

Not only is the cafe culture particularly lovely when it’s cold outside, but Vienna’s Christmas markets are among the best in Europe , and the perfect way to kick off a Christmas trip in Austria !

Budapest or Vienna: Vienna Spanish Riding School

Canals, cyclists, and hygge: these are just a few of the delightful things you’ll find in Copenhagen.

Denmark’s capital city is known for its many cyclists, its beautiful canals and picturesque harbor (Nyhavn), and recently, its extreme culture of coziness.

Hygge, a word that means something approximating coziness and contentment, is a large feature of Copenhagen.

Since the word has been popularized in popular culture worldwide, even more travelers flock to Copenhagen not just to snap photos at Nyhavn or determine for themselves if the Little Mermaid Statue is, in fact, as underwhelming as they say, but to experience Danish hygge for themselves.

And, while hygge and a northern climate may not be words that bring “beach trip” to mind, Copenhagen’s picturesque location also makes it one of the most beautiful cities in Europe with beaches !

cityscape of copenhagen denmark from above on a sunny summer day

The capital of Bavaria is definitely known best for one thing on the tourism circuit: its incredible Oktoberfest celebration that draws travelers from across the globe.

Even outside of the annual festival, though, Munich remains one of the best cities to visit in Europe.

While there, check out Marienplatz and the gorgeous Munich Residence, as well as the Nymphenburg Palace and (at least) one of the city’s fun beer gardens.

Munich is also within day-tripping distance of the famous Neuschwanstein Castle , so if you have a few days to spend in the area, consider escaping to the Bavarian countryside for a day!

Central Europe Itinerary: Couple in Munich, Germany

Germany’s capital city may not be one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, but it is an incredibly interesting one.

It’s well worth experiencing at least a few days in Berlin to get a feel for this unique European city.

Known today primarily for its intense Cold War history and its quirky, artistic culture, Berlin is packed with interesting sights and things to do.

While in Berlin, be sure to check out the famous Brandenburg Gate, see the Reichstag Building, and, of course, see the remains of the Berlin Wall and accompanying memorials.

For great views of the city, consider heading up the Berlin TV Tower, and to see the city’s best museums, head to Museum Island.

aerial view of berlin tv tower at sunset, one of the most interesting european cities to visit

Scotland’s stunning capital city is easily one of the best cities to visit in Europe and one that captures the adoration and imagination of most who visit it.

With hints of fairytale magic in the air (helped along, no doubt, by the city’s ties to Harry Potter lore), Edinburgh is packed with fun things to do.

During your visit, be sure to stroll down Royal Mile, admire the views from Arthur’s Seat and Calton Hill, and enjoy Edinburgh Castle.

Travelers who love the arts may want to plan their visit for August when the Edinburgh Fringe Festival takes over the city.

Fair warning, though: prices in the city absolutely skyrocket during the festival!

Skyline of Edinburgh Scotland at sunset, one of the most popular places to visit in Europe

If you’re hoping to see a smaller city in Europe, then these cities in Europe might be for you!

In most of these cities, you can enjoy most of the major tourist attractions in only a couple of days or less and/or more or less exclusively tour the city on foot.

As the capital city of Alsace, Strasbourg is a unique delight of a city nestled in northeastern France and is a gateway to the famed Alsace Wine Route, glorious mountains, and the charming, colorful smaller villages of Alsace.

The region of Alsace was once held by Germany, and the result is that in Strasbourg you can find hints of German influences among the French culture, all blended together to create the unique Alsatian culture you will find in the city today.

Tips for Airbnb Hosts: Strasbourg

Croatia’s most famous city has risen to international stardom in recent years, in large part thanks to its role as King’s Landing on Game of Thrones, but this bite-sized coastal city is a magical place to visit even for those who have never seen a single episode of the show.

Dubrovnik’s crown jewel is its intact town walls that still encircle the old town, where you can walk fully around the city, with the terracotta rooftops of Dubrovnik glistening on one side and the shimmering Adriatic Sea on the other.

While visiting Dubrovnik , be sure to also check out the view from Mount Srd, the views from the Lovrijenac Fortress, and, if you’re up for a bit of a physical challenge, a kayaking tour to Lokrum Island!

Fun Things to Do in Dubrovnik Croatia: View of Fort Lovrijenac viewed from city walls

As the Cradle of the Renaissance and one of the most popular places to visit in Europe, you might expect Florence to be a large city, but no.

Travelers can easily walk the bulk of the historic center, and some of the areas beyond it, in just a couple of days–no other transportation is necessary!

Florence is an endlessly beautiful city, and so packed full of world-class artwork that the city is almost a work of art unto itself.

From the magnificent Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore to the incredible masterpiece that is Michelangelo’s David to the Ponte Vecchio to all the treasures of the Uffizi Museum, looking at Florence is like looking at Renaissance-era art, architecture and engineering come to life. 

Kate Storm in a red dress overlooking the Ponte Vecchio in Florence Italy

Nestled in southwestern Germany, the small university city of Heidelberg is far from the most popular city to visit in Germany, but it absolutely deserves to make the list.

Set on the beautiful Neckar River and overlooked by the impressive Heidelberg Palace, Heidelberg looks every bit the part of a fairytale-esque small European city.

And it’s not just modern visitors and the students who flock to study at Heidelberg University who understand the magic of Heidelberg: Mark Twain was inspired by the city and spoke of it very fondly after spending a summer living there.

In fact, according to some accounts, the idea for The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was conceived thanks to the Neckar River.

While that’s partially inaccurate, there’s no doubt that Twain was captivated by the beauty of Heidelberg!

view of heidelberg germany from above with castle across the river, one of the most beautiful cities in europe to visit

When travelers plan a trip to Slovenia, it’s rare that the charming capital of Ljubljana tops the list of what they hope to see.

And that’s understandable: it’s hard to beat the majesty of Lake Bled, the beauty of Triglav National Park, or the adorable seaside beauty of Piran .

That being said, though, Ljubljana itself is also a great place to spend a couple of days in Slovenia.

Not only is it conveniently located within day-tripping distance of ever-popular Bled, it’s a fun city to experience in its own right.

Home to the lovely Ljubljana Castle, the fascinating street-art-covered neighborhood of Metelkova, the quirky Dragon Bridge, and colorful Preseren Square–not to mention plenty of charming cafes and delicious restaurants–Ljubljana is an easy European city to love.

Green dragon statue perched on Dragon Bridge in Ljubljana Slovenia, one of the most fun cities in Europe to visit

As the hometown of Mozart and as a city surrounded by hills that are alive with The Sound of Music, charming Salzburg, Austria is easily one of the best cities to visit in Europe.

Regardless of whether you choose a sunshine-and-blooming-flower-filled summer trip or a festive Christmas market trip, Salzburg is bound to charm!

Overlooked by the striking Hohensalzburg Fortress, Salzburg is a feast for the eyes.

It’s also home to highlights like the beautiful Mirabell Palace (known, among other things, for its status as a filming location for The Sound of Music), the incredible Salzburg Cathedral, and both Mozart’s Birthplace and later Residence, and is an incredibly fun city to visit.

Skyline of Salzburg Austria as seen from above on a cloudy day

Located in southern Poland, Krakow is best known on the tourism circuit for its proximity to two things that lay entirely outside the city: Auschwitz-Birkenau and the Wieliczka Salt Mine.

While both of those places are worth visiting (and in the case of Auschwitz-Birkenau, arguably very important to experience if you’re in the area and feel up to a very emotional day), the charming city of Krakow itself is also home to interesting sights that make it one of the best city breaks in Europe.

Be sure to explore the impressive Wawel Castle as part of your trip to Krakow, as well as St. Mary’s Basilica, Town Hall Tower, and, of course, a milk bar or two to enjoy classic Polish pierogi.

Kate Storm and Jeremy Storm at Wawel Castle, Krakow on their first 2 week Europe trip.

The prettiest city in Belgium (in our opinion, anyway) is bite-sized and beautiful, easy to cover in just a day or two, and absolutely gorgeous from every angle–though if you ask us, its best angle is from the water during a canal cruise.

While visiting Bruges, consider climbing to the top of the Belfry for incredible views, seeking out the beautiful Bonifacius Bridge, enjoying a canal cruise, checking out the colorful Market Square, stopping by the Basilica of Holy Blood, and relaxing at Minnewater Park.

As a small and incredibly popular European city to visit, Bruges can feel crowded at times–but by planning a winter trip , you can experience (somewhat) reduced crowd levels.

Kate Storm in a black coat standing on a brick footbridge in Brugesduring a trip to Belgium

It may be a bit of a stretch to include an entire country of roughly 33,000 people on a list of the best cities to visit in Europe, but San Marino is worth making a slight exception for.

Styled as the oldest republic in Europe (founding date: 301 AD) and simultaneously the least-visited country in Europe, San Marino is an absolutely gorgeous (though yes, quite small) country that is entirely surrounded by Italy.

Featuring castle and countryside views from Mount Titano that are worthy of any fairytale and very interesting history (you can stroll right into Parliament to check it out–no tour necessary), San Marino is definitely well worth a visit! 

While you can take a San Marino day trip from Bologna , it’s a fun place to see at night (once the day-trippers leave) as well.

View of castle of San Marino perched on a hill

Nicknamed the Venice of the Alps, the beautiful city of Annecy, France, is located less than an hour south of Geneva and features beautiful views of Lake Annecy (considered the cleanest lake in Europe), delicious Alpine cuisine (including all kinds of amazing cheese), and stunning canals.

The combination of Annecy’s incredible gastronomy, colorful old town surrounded by canals, and crisp Alpine air make it one of the best city breaks in Europe.

While Annecy is a popular day trip from Geneva, this small city is worth enjoying for at least a couple of days if you can spare the time.

If you can, schedule your trip to Annecy to coincide with at least one market day.

Fridays and Sundays are the biggest market days of the week, but there is a smaller market that takes place on Tuesdays as well.

Chateau d'Annecy seen behind tulips, Best Things to Do in Annecy France

Surrounded by medieval walls dating to the Saxons, and then by the Carpathian mountains beyond that, Brasov is an incredibly beautiful city to visit in the heart of Transylvania, and definitely deserves to feature on any trip to the region!

Must-see sights include the impressive Gothic-style Black Church, both the Black and White Towers, the views from Tampa Mountain, and the charming Council Square.

And, though it’s not within the city itself, we can’t mention Brasov without mentioning Bran Castle.

This infamous castle is located about a 30-minute drive away and is an absolutely incredible sight (though, fair warning: the Dracula connections are nothing by myth).

black church in brasov romania in early autumn, an offbeat european city break option

Set less than an hour away from Florence by train, Bologna is the capital of the Emilia-Romagna region in Italy, and is absolutely beautiful, packing in gorgeous Italian architecture and plenty of museums in its small size.

The biggest reason to visit, though, isn’t its beauty: it’s the food.

Bologna is one of the absolute best cities to visit in Europe for foodies.

As the capital of Emilia-Romagna, you can thank the region surrounding Bologna for mortadella (the original and far superior version of what non-Italians call bologna), parmigiano-reggiano, traditional balsamic vinegar, and tagliatelle al ragu (aka pasta bolognese)… just to name a small sliver of its delicacies.

Even with one day in Bologna , you can eat extremely well, see several of the most popular attractions, and even seek out a few hidden gems like the city’s canals.

Things to Do in Bologna: San Petronio's Terrace, Florence to Bologna Train

Away from bustling capital cities and world-icon status, Europe boasts hundreds of other incredibly cool, lesser-visited cities that are still absolutely worthy of being considered one of the best cities to visit in Europe.

Here are just a few of them–consider mixing a couple of these into your Europe bucket list along with the more iconic options above!

gardens of royal alcazar in seville spain

As the capital of Spain’s southern Andalucia region, beautiful Seville is known for its stunning architecture (including its magnificent cathedral), its many orange trees that bloom in the summer, its flamenco culture, its seemingly endless sunshine (and heat), its beautiful Alcazar, and its photo-worthy Plaza de Espana.

It’s also known for acting as a filming location for two of the most famous franchises around!

The Alcazar played the Water Gardens of Dorne in Game of Thrones, and the Plaza de Espana was featured as the city of Theed in Star Wars: Attack of the Clones.

Seville is also an excellent launchpad for a full Andalucia road trip !

kate storm jeremy storm and ranger storm in plaza de espana seville spain

The capital of Serbia is definitely one of the least-visited of the European cities rounded up in this travel guide, but it certainly deserves more attention.

Colorful, historic, and incredibly affordable, Belgrade is a fun and invigorating city that is absolutely packed with things to do .

While you’re there, be sure to check out the gorgeous Church of Saint Sava, the Belgrade Fortress, and the Knez Mihailov shopping street.

If you have a few days to spend in Belgrade, consider also adding on a day trip to colorful, nearby Novi Sad!

belgrade serbia as seen from across the river on a sunny day

With its waterfront setting, steep hills, iconic trams, and gigantic red suspension bridge, Lisbon draws a lot of comparisons to San Francisco–but luckily, a trip to Lisbon is far more affordable.

Colorful and laid-back, Lisbon’s architecture is beautiful, its culture warm and inviting, and its attractions beautiful, making it one of the best cities in Europe to visit.

While you’re there, be sure to stroll through the historic neighborhood of Alfama, ride the popular Tram 28 past beautiful views (or at least snap photos of it going by), admire the city from a couple of different miradouros (viewpoints) check out the Time Out Market, and enjoy the sunset along the Tagus River.

Be sure not to leave without eating a dozen or so pasteis de nata, either!

4 Days in Lisbon: Street Car Alfama District

Hilly, crowded, chaotic Naples is certainly a bit controversial among these best cities to visit in Europe–people tend to either love or hate it–but as we adore it, we want to include it here.

Built on the coast of Campania and boasting phenomenal views of Mount Vesuvius from its shores, Naples is an absolutely dynamic city.

Its streets are generally packed, its salesmen a bit more intense than those further north in Italy, and yes, it is a bit dirtier and rougher around the edges than Florence or Venice. 

However, it’s also gorgeous–places like the San Carlo Theater, Piazza del Plebiscito, and Galleria Umberto I are all beautiful–and incredibly interesting.

Features like the Bourbon Tunnel, Naples Underground, Castel Nuovo, and Naples Archaeological Museum are all incredible places to visit, and even if you don’t find Naples’ environment or attractions quite to your taste, there’s always its world-famous pizza to grab (and hold) your attention.

With incredible day trip options like Pompeii  and the legendary Amalfi Coast , you sure can’t beat its location, either!

Trip to Italy Cost: View of Mount Vesuvius from Naples

Estonia’s small-yet-stunning capital city has long been under the radar as far as tourism is concerned, but luckily, that is starting to change.

With a beautiful cityscape right on the water, affordable prices, and plenty of fun things to do (be sure to add checking out the views from Toompea Hill and strolling through the hipster haven of Telliskivi Creative City to your list of things to see), Tallinn is a fantastic city to explore for a few days.

Once you wrap up, you can even travel by boat to easily extend your trip to another country!

Helsinki, Finland is only about 2 hours away from Tallinn by ferry.

Cityscape of Tallinn at sunset, one of the best hidden gems in Europe

Portugal’s “second city” has been gaining in popularity in recent decades, but still remains somewhat under-the-radar when compared to busy Lisbon.

Set on the Duoro River, Porto is known for its gorgeous, colorful architecture, churches covered in gorgeous azulejos (Portuguese hand-painted tiles), its dramatic views, and–most of all–for its port!

Once upon a time, the famous port grown in the nearby Duoro Valley was floated down the river to Porto, and today, you can still tour traditional port houses along the banks of the river (complete with tastings, of course).

kate storm in front of igrejo do carmo azulejos, one of the best places to visit in porto in a day

Less visited than Florence or Milan , and yet stunningly beautiful, Verona is set in southern Veneto, nestled on the banks of the Adige River.

Home of a remarkably well preserved Roman amphitheater, amazing views, and the legend of Romeo and Juliet, Verona is as captivating as it is beautiful.

Be sure to enjoy the views from the Castel San Pietro and the Torre dei Lamberti as part of your visit.

And, if you’re up for a bit of adventure, consider taking a whitewater rafting trip down the Adige!

Best Things to Do in Verona: Castel San Pietro

As the second-largest city in Norway and nicknamed the Heart of the Fjords, Bergen doesn’t generally top European bucket lists (at least for those of us that hail from outside the continent)–but perhaps it should.

Featuring highlights like the traditional wooden houses of Bryggen, a bustling fish market, and sweeping views from Mount Fløyen, Bergen makes for a fantastic introduction to Norway.

As the gateway to Norway’s incredible fjord beauty and home to what is arguably one of the most picturesque harbors in Europe, stunningly beautiful Bergen definitely ranks among the best cities to visit in Europe!

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4 photos of European cities: Venice, Krakow, Rome, Paris. Red and black text on a white background reads "bucket list cities to visit in Europe"

About Kate Storm

Image of the author, Kate Storm

In May 2016, I left my suburban life in the USA and became a full-time traveler. Since then, I have visited 50+ countries on 5 continents and lived in Portugal, developing a special love of traveling in Europe (especially Italy) along the way. Today, along with my husband Jeremy and dog Ranger, I’m working toward my eventual goal of splitting my life between Europe and the USA.

31 thoughts on “35 Best Cities to Visit in Europe (Bucket List for City Lovers!)”

No Plovdiv or Sofia or Veliko Tarnovo. It is not a good enough list. ?

If I ever expand this list to 50, at least Sofia will make the list! Sofia holds a special place in our hearts, we’ve spent months there visiting good friends of ours.

Add all of Ireland to this list ?

Birmingham England

Birmingham is very much a cultural hotspot in the uk. It has lovely Victorian industrial buildings and has more miles of canal than Venice.

Most depressing soulless sprawled out place I’ve ever lived

What about Dublin??? Great atmosphere, great people, great history Cork, Kilkenny and Galway for smaller cities!

Bucharest is also a very beautiful city, once called “little Paris”!

In agreement with all of the listings even living on two of them! I would add Siena to the list of small cities to visit

We love Siena! It’s definitely a fantastic place to visit.

Siena is beautiful but I think Lucca is better!

Lucca is one of my favorites too! Tried to keep the level of Italy in check on this post, LOL, but I could easily do a whole list of only Italian cities, too. 🙂

Worth expanding the list. Need Wales, perhaps Conway, more Spain for example Caceres, Burgos, what of the lovely Island of Crete – Xania? And surely can’t miss Brittany and San Malo. Actually this is impossible….. Expand to 100 and leave out the iconic cos people know them? Be so good to have loads more of less well known.

Also ireland and Northern Ireland as Belfast portstewart portrush and some Irish cities

Surprised none of Switzerland’s cities are in there. I loved Lucerne and Zurich. Magical feeling walking around both cities.

I would also include Stockholm, Helsinki, Dublin, Moscow, and Oslo. Vienna, Amsterdam, Bruges and Lisbon are in my modest opinion quite overrated cities.

I disagree about Vienna and Dublin but agree about Moscow and Lisbon

Stockholm is so boring.

Budapest and Vienna Salzburg or Brussels with Brugees? This a real question. After 2 years in quarauntine we want to explore Europe. (Budapest first time )

Very hard decision! They’re all wonderful in their own way.

If we had to pick, though, we’d pick Budapest/Vienna/Salzburg. 🙂

Τhank you Ms. Kate, After a lot of videos and Reviews and even though Bruges looks fantastic will be closer to choose Budapest and Salzburg. (even though Vienna is for the Second time after 2017). But still, this about as you wrote is a really hard decision if you think Bruges Ghent and of course Amsterdam that is really close to all of them … But we will be closer to your opinion that why i wrote here to take a feedback. Thank you for this

Budapest all day long

Warsaw is a beautiful city

I totally agree Warsaw is so quick changing city I have seen almost whole Europe and over 100 capitals in the world and I am so happy that I live in Warsaw

If you like Amsterdam, then don’t forget to visit Leiden. It’has the same look and feel as Amsterdam with canals and beautiful museums.

I have traveled many European cities mostly on business and a few with my wife on pleasure. I agree with your selections and comments. Your list is also very informative for me to visit the places we have not been to. Thank you for your postings.

Great Blog! You really made a very good choice of your top 35 cities in Europe (and choosing only 35 is extremely difficult). Keep the good work up and have fun travelling, now that it is possible again.

Saint Petersburg should be included. Beautiful place.

Hi Kate Have loved reading your post. Had been thinking of visiting Milan but see it doesn’t get a mention in this list. What are your thoughts on its merits? Thanks Barbra

We’ve visited Milan several times (were just there again a couple of weeks ago, in fact), but it’s not among our favorite cities in Italy!

That’s very subjective, of course, many people love it. As the business capital of Italy we don’t find it quite as idyllic and picturesque as many Italian cities, but of course its major sites–the Duomo, the Last Supper, etc–are all wonderful and worth visiting. We don’t dislike it, just don’t love it as much as other places.

We do have a guide to spending a day there! Here it is: https://www.ourescapeclause.com/one-day-in-milan-itinerary/

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The best cities in Europe: 2023 Readers' Choice Awards

By Condé Nast Traveller

San Sebastian Spain

All products are independently selected by our editors. If you buy something, we may earn an affiliate commission.

The survey for the 2024 Readers' Choice Awards is open, vote now for your favourite places, hotels, airports, cruise lines, travel fixers and more.

In order to make the cut for our list of the best cities in  Europe , certain criteria must be met. A European city should have a world-class food scene, plenty of  smart hotels , friendly locals and intriguing history. In this year’s  Readers’ Choice Awards  survey, multiple cities in Spain ranked highly – but you also voted for cities in Denmark, Switzerland, Portugal, Iceland, Croatia and Norway. In fact, cities across Scandinavia are well-loved by  Condé Nast Traveller  readers, with two cities from the region making the top five – pipped only to the post for the top spot by a diminutive Spanish city set right on the sea.

These are the best cities in Europe, according to the 2023 Readers’ Choice Awards . The scores below are percentages representing overall average levels of satisfaction.

The best cities in Europe

Dubrovnik Croatia

10. Dubrovnik, Croatia. Score 82.82

This Adriatic city might be the most famous and most-loved in Croatia. It’s encircled with stone walls completed in the 16th century, creating a dramatic landscape. It’s also a great jumping-off point for a Croatian island-hopping adventure.

Where to stay: Dubrovnik has some of the best hotels in Croatia. We particularly like Ninion Boutique Hotel , an adults-only hideout.

9. Reykjavik, Iceland. Score 82.98

“Iceland’s capital may be busier than ever, but it still has a tangible soul and culturally punches far above its weight,” features director Toby Skinner said in our cheat’s guide to Iceland . Its high-low food scene spans from music-first bars to New Nordic spots that compete with its Scandi neighbours, and a handful of cool festivals take place here each summer, too.

Where to stay: The arrival of Ian Schrager’s Reykjavik Edition at the end of 2021 felt like a step up for the city.

8. Zurich, Switzerland. Score 82.62

Zurich – the largest city in Switzerland – is the only Swiss entry to make the top 10 this year. The city scored highly in categories such as shopping and outdoor activities – perhaps unsurprising, as it sits on a lake and is surrounded by mountains.

Where to stay: Marktgasse Hotel occupies two 15th-century buildings in the Old Town, while Baur au Lac , overlooking the lake, is the grandest of the old palace hotels.

7. Bruges, Belgium. Score 83.69

Tread the cobbles to find this charming city’s real masterpieces – canal-side restaurants, sweet bakeries, exceptional chocolate shops and pretty neighbourhoods that are perfect for exploring by bike are just some of the reasons it’s ranked highly in this year’s survey. Bruges also scored highly for friendliness, as well as for its hotels and resorts.

Where to stay: Maison Amodio is a three-room B&B themed on places the owners enjoy - Paris , Biarritz and nearby Knokke.

View of old Porto with the back and the tower of the convent

6. Porto, Portugal. Score 84.29

Lisbon gets more airtime than its little sister, Porto, but this smaller city is hot on the capital’s heels. It has, says contributor Abigail Malbon in our edit of the best hotels in Porto , “arguably the most beautiful train station in the world and port tastings available at every wine bar on every corner.” There are also beautiful restaurants in Porto , making it a perfect weekend break – here’s how to spend 72 hours in Porto.

Where to stay: Overlooking the Douro River on the corner of one of the city’s oldest squares, Gran Cruz House is right in the thick of it.

5. Dublin, Ireland. Score 85.18

Millions of tourists descend on the Republic of Ireland’s capital each year – and it’s still a favourite among our readers, rounding out the top five. A mass of fabulous new hotels in Dublin for every type of traveller has opened, alongside lots of exciting things to do , and the restaurants here are some of our favourites in Ireland.

Where to stay: In the heart of pretty Georgian Dublin, The Merrion Hotel comprises an impeccable restoration of four townhouses that have been stitched together.

A view through an ornate window in the Alcazaba moorish fortress Malaga

4. Malaga, Spain. Score 86.90

This coastal city is back in the game following an arty resurgence, hot new restaurants and a spattering of stylish places to stay. A cluster of museums, including Museo de Málaga and the Picasso Museum Málaga, has opened. The food scene spotlights hangouts such as Mercado Central de Atarazanas, in a central market that was a shipyard in the 14th century, and La Terraza de San Juan, at the Hotel Málaga Premium, remains a favourite.

Where to stay: Palacio Solecio is an 18th-century palace built for a Genoese merchant, while La Zambra is one of the newest creations from the Marugal hotel group.

Oslo Norway

3. Oslo, Norway. Score 88.67

The citizens of  Oslo  are a population notably keen to showcase the best of their city to visitors, from the Oslo Cathedral – still used by the Norwegian Royal Family and the Norwegian Government for key events throughout the year – to Akershus Castle. Baroque architecture dots the city and in and amongst it, no less than 30 museums showcasing the city’s history, art and political history, as well as myriad hiking trails around the rivers and gardens that wind their way around the outskirts.

Where to stay: Glamorous newcomer Sommerro has the city’s first year-round rooftop pool and sauna, plus seven restaurants and bars.

Copenhagen Denmark

2. Copenhagen, Denmark. Score 88.78

Denmark’s capital, Copenhagen , has long upheld its accolade of the happiest city in the world , known for its hardy community spirit, exciting foodie scene and myriad canals that link the city’s various districts. From the 18th-century Rococo district – built during the reign of Frederick V and the site of the Amalienborg Palace – to Østerbro, perched on the outskirts of the city, built around Copenhagen’s medieval fortification.

Where to stay: Villa Copenhagen has a great location right next to Tivoli Gardens and a buzzy atmosphere at its all-day brasserie and in-house bakery, headed up by former Noma chef Gonzalo Guarda.

San Sebastian Spain

1. San Sebastian, Spain. Score 90.54

Spilling up and around the coastline of the Bay of Biscay, the resort town of San Sebastián in Spain’s mountainous Basque Country bags the top spot as Europe’s best city to visit. It’s an area known for its relaxed atmosphere, long stretches of honey-hued beaches and various foodie outposts with world-famous chefs at their helm.

Where to stay: For a central stay, Arbaso is the city’s coolest urban hotel. Elsewhere, in the Parte Vieja’s vast universe of pintxo bars, Lasala Plaza is home to a rare rooftop ‘solarium.’ See our guide to the best San Sebastían hotels for more

27 of the best places to visit in Europe 

Jun 12, 2024 • 12 min read

exciting european cities to visit

From sunny Greek Islands - like Amorgos (pictured) - to northerly capitals, here are Europe's best places to visit © imagIN.gr photography / Shutterstock

There is simply no way to tour Europe and not be awestruck by its natural beauty, fascinating history and dazzling artistic and culinary diversity.

Europe’s wealth of attractions is its biggest single draw: Florence’s Renaissance art, Venice’s graceful canals, Paris’ Napoleonic splendor, and the multilayered historical and cultural canvas of London. There’s also a huge diversity of natural scenery: rugged Scottish Highlands with glens and lochs, the flower fields and hilltop villages of Provence, and the Adriatic coastline speckled with thousands of islands. And those are  just the highlights.

Some of Europe's most popular spots have also felt the effects of overtourism in recent years, as increasing visitor numbers leave an impact on local populations, services and historic sites. Traveling off-season, supporting local businesses and researching the particulars of the issue in your chosen destination can help offset some of the problems.

But with a little planning and care, you’re in for the journey of a lifetime. Here are 27 of the best places to visit in Europe. 

A gothic Victorian bridge structure contrasting with modern glass-fronted buildings

1. London, UK

Truly one of the world’s greatest cities

London is mercurial and endlessly fascinating; you could spend a lifetime getting to know it, then realize it’s gone and changed again. Stretching back from the mighty River Thames, its lush parks and historic districts are crammed with extraordinary sights: royal palaces, towering cathedrals and remarkable museums and galleries. Add the pick of the world’s theaters, restaurants , sports venues and shops, and you’ll be very reluctant to leave.

Planning a visit to London? Time it right with our seasonal guide

2. Venice, Italy

Magical city seemingly floating on water

A sunny winter’s day, with far fewer tourists around, is the perfect time to lap up Venice 's unique and magical atmosphere. Ditch your map and wander the shadowy back lanes of Dorsoduro while imagining secret assignations and whispered conspiracies at every turn. Then visit two of Venice’s top galleries, the Gallerie dell’Accademia and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection , which house works by many of the giants of 20th-century art.

Visiting Venice requires a delicate balance. Here are 25 things you need to know before you go

Tree-lined avenues lead through a city. A tall iron tower dominates the skyline

3. Paris, France

Get up close with an architectural icon

Designed as a temporary exhibit for the 1889 Exposition Universelle (World Fair), Paris ’ elegant art nouveau Eiffel Tower has become the defining fixture of the skyline.   The first floor is home to glitzy glass pavilions housing interactive exhibits; outside, peer down through the glass floor to the ground below. Visit at dusk for the best day and night views of the City of Light and make a toast at the sparkling champagne bar.

4. Rome, Italy

Classical ruins mixed with contemporary style

From the crumbling Colosseum to the ancient Forum and the Via Appia Antica , few sights are more evocative than the ruins of ancient Rome . Two thousand years ago, this city was the center of the greatest empire of the ancient world, where gladiators battled and emperors lived in unimaginable luxury. Nowadays it’s a haunting spot: as you walk the cobbled paths, you can almost sense the ghosts in the air.

Ready to explore Rome? Here are the city's best experiences

People seated at a small laneway with graffiti and colorful street art lining the walls

5. Berlin, Germany

Catch the ever-changing zeitgeist

Nearly 35 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall, it’s hard to believe that this most cosmopolitan of cities once marked the frontier of the Cold War. But reminders of Berlin 's divided past still remain: whether you’re passing the Brandenburg Gate , gazing at graffiti at the East Side Gallery or studying the exhibits at the DDR Museum , it’s an essential part of understanding what makes Germany’s capital. From there, it's time to soak up the city's amazing modern touches, like its iconic club culture , unique independent shops and cool neighborhoods . 

6. Dubrovnik, Croatia

A spectacular walled city

Dubrovnik 's main claim to fame are its historic ramparts , considered among the finest in the world, which surround luminous marble streets and finely ornamented buildings. Built between the 13th and 16th centuries, the walls are still remarkably intact today, and the vistas over the terracotta rooftops and the Adriatic Sea are sublime, especially at dusk, when the fading light makes the hues dramatic and the panoramas unforgettable.

Want to see more of Croatia? Follow our week-long itinerary

Tourists wander the old square of central Prague, dominated by a twin-spired church

7. Prague, Czechia

An architectural central European jewel

The capital of the Czechia  is one of Europe’s most alluring and dynamic places. For all its modern verve, some parts of the city have hardly changed since medieval times – cobbled cul-de-sacs twist through the Old Town, framed by teetering townhouses, baroque buildings and graceful bridges. And if castles are your thing, Prague has an absolute beauty: a 1000-year-old fortress covering around 7 hectares – the world’s largest ancient castle complex.

Make sure to try these quintessential Prague experiences

8. Vienna, Austria

Grand heart of a former empire

The monumentally graceful Hofburg whisks you back to the age of empires in Vienna as you marvel at the treasury’s imperial crowns, the equine ballet of the Spanish Riding School and the chandelier-lit apartments fit for Empress Elisabeth. The palace, a legacy of the 640-year Habsburg era, is rivaled in grandeur only by the 1441-room Schloss Schönbrunn , a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the baroque Schloss Belvedere , both set in exquisite gardens.

A view from underneath a bridge shows the canals and bridges of Amsterdam.

9. Amsterdam, Netherlands

World Heritage-listed canals and gabled buildings

To say Amsterdammers love the water is an understatement. Stroll next to the canals and check out some of the thousands of houseboats. Or better still, go for a ride. From boat level you’ll see a whole new set of architectural details, such as the ornamentation bedecking the bridges. And when you pass the appealing canalside cafe terraces, mark the location for a later return.

Planning your stay in Amsterdam? Here's our guide to the city's best neighborhoods  

10. Budapest, Hungary

Beautiful capital city straddling the Danube 

Along both sides of the romantic Danube River, with the Buda Hills to the west and the start of the Great Plain to the east, Budapest is perhaps the most beautiful city in Eastern Europe. Parks brim with attractions, the architecture is second to none, museums are filled with treasures, pleasure boats sail up and down the scenic Danube Bend, Turkish-era thermal baths belch steam and the city's nightlife throbs till dawn most nights. 

Before you go to Budapest, read up on our tips from a local writer

A very tall church with four individual spires reflected in a pond

11. Barcelona, Spain

See the genius of a visionary architect

Barcelona is famous for its Modernista architecture, much of which was designed by Antoni Gaudí. His masterpiece is the mighty cathedral La Sagrada Família , which remains a work in progress close to a century after its creator’s death. It’s a bizarre combination of crazy and classic: Gothic touches intersect with eccentric experiments and improbable angles. Even half completed, it’s a modern-day wonder.

Get ready to visit Barcelona with these important things to know before you go  

12. Lisbon, Portugal

Soulful city armed with Gothic grit

Alfama , with its labyrinthine alleyways, hidden courtyards and curving, shadow-filled lanes, is a magical place to lose all sense of direction and delve into Lisbon 's soul. On the journey, you’ll pass breadbox-sized grocers, brilliantly tiled buildings and views of steeply pitched rooftops leading down to the glittering Tagus. Pause at cozy taverns filled with easygoing chatter, with the scent of chargrilled sardines and the mournful rhythms of fado drifting in the breeze.

Plan the right time for your visit to Lisbon with our seasonal guide

Motorcyclists drive down a road through the lush Scottish Highlands.

13. The Scottish Highlands

Scenic grandeur and echoes of the past

Breathtaking views abound in the Highlands . From the regal charm of Royal Deeside, via the brooding majesty of Glen Coe, to the mysterious waters of sweeping Loch Ness , these are landscapes that inspire awe. The region is scattered with fairy-tale castles and the hiking is suitably glorious. Add the nooks of warm Highland hospitality found in classic rural pubs and romantic hotels, and you have an unforgettable corner of Scotland . 

Exploring more of Scotland? Here are our top road trips

14. Dublin, Ireland

Pints of Guinness and literary connections

Whether you’re wandering around the leafy Georgian terraces of St Stephen’s Green or getting acquainted with the past at Kilmainham Gaol , in Dublin you’re never far from a literary or historic sight. And then there are the city’s pubs : there are few better places to down a pint than Dublin, and you can even make a pilgrimage to the original Guinness brewery . Either way, you’ll surely make a few Irish friends along the way. 

See the best of Dublin with our guide to the city's top things to do

People watch the sunset from the steps of San Miniato al Monte over the city of Florence

15. Florence and Tuscany, Italy

Italy’s most romanticized region

The gently rolling hills of Tuscany , bathed in golden light and dotted with vineyards, sum up Italy’s attractions in a nutshell. Here picture-perfect hilltop towns vie with magnificent scenery and some of Italy’s best food and wine. And there’s Florence , home to what UNESCO describes as "the greatest concentration of universally renowned works of art in the world". It’s a city packed with blockbuster museums, elegant churches and flawless Renaissance streetscapes.

Experience the best of Tuscany with our tips for first-time visitors

16. Ruins of Pompeii, Italy

Ancient city destroyed and preserved by Vesuvius

Frozen in its death throes, the sprawling, time-warped ruins of Pompeii hurtle you 2000 years into the past. Wander through chariot-grooved Roman streets, lavishly frescoed villas and bathhouses, food stores and markets, theaters and even an ancient brothel. Then, in the eerie stillness, with your eye on ominous Mt Vesuvius, ponder the town’s final hours when the skies grew dark and heavy with volcanic ash.

The large palace of the Alhambra sits on a hill with mountains in the background.

17. Andalucía, Spain

Vibrant cities studded with impressive architecture

Andalucía , ancient al-Andalus, is awash with glorious architecture that dates back to the eight centuries of Moorish rule that ended in 1492. Granada , Córdoba and Seville are the high points of a journey of extraordinary riches. In Granada, the palace complex of the Alhambra , in particular, is close to perfection, and perhaps one of the most impressive works of Islamic art anywhere in the world. Put simply, this is Spain ’s most beautiful monument.

A street, with a walkway of striped rainbow colors, leads to the pointed spire of a cathedral

18. Reykjavík, Iceland

The world’s most northerly capital

Most Icelanders live in Reykjavík and even on the shortest visit you’ll be struck by how quirky and creative the population is. Despite being on the northern margin of Europe, the locals have crafted a town packed with captivating art, rich cuisine and an epic music scene. Learn about a history stretching back to the Vikings and use the city as a base for trips to Iceland’s amazing natural wonders.

Here's how to experience the best of Iceland

19. Copenhagen, Denmark

Coolest kid on the Nordic block

Scandinavia is all about pared-back contemporary style – something that the Danish capital has in spades. Home to a thriving design scene, Copenhagen sports Michelin-starred restaurants, hipster cafes and bars, and swoon-worthy boutiques around every corner. Add in top-class museums and galleries and a 1000-year-old harbor with handsome historic architecture and you have the perfect Scandi city. 

A Car drives along the road against a background of beautiful scenic view of a medieval village in France.

20. Provence, France

Gallic charm in the south of France

For many people, the pastoral landscapes of Provence are a French fantasy come true. Provence seems to sum up everything enviable about the French lifestyle: fantastic food, hilltop villages, legendary wines, bustling markets and a balmy climate. For decades, it’s been a hot spot for vacationers and second-homers, inspired by the vision of the rustic good life.

Want to see more of France? Here's our guide to the country's best things to do

21. Swiss Alps, Switzerland

Hike, ski and admire these postcard-perfect peaks

The stirring ramparts of the Swiss Alps grace chocolate bar wrappers and evoke stereotypical Heidi scenes, but nothing prepares you for their allure up close. The most famous summit, the Matterhorn, is a mesmerizing peak that looms above the timber-chalet-filled Swiss village of Zermatt . Gaze at it from a tranquil cafe, hike in its shadow along the tangle of alpine paths above town, with cowbells clinking in the distance, or pause on a ski slope and admire its craggy, chiseled outline. 

The tall minarets rise from the Suleymaniye Mosque on the Third Hill of Istanbul.

22. IIstanbul, Türkiye

Where Europe meets Asia 

Serving stints as the capital of the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires and an ancient crossroads of civilizations, Istanbul is one of the world’s great cities. The historical highlights cluster in Sultanahmet – the Hagia Sophia , Blue Mosque , Topkapı Palace and Grand Bazaar – with the vast  Süleymaniye Mosque  crowning a hilltop in Eminönü.

Find your way around İstanbul with our neighborhood guide

23. Athens, Greece

Monument-strewn capital of Ancient Greece

Greece has ancient monuments at seemingly every turn, but it’s in Athens where the greatest and most iconic still stand. High on a rocky outcrop overlooking the city, the Acropolis epitomizes the glory of ancient Greece with its graceful Parthenon and 17,000-seat Theatre of Dionysos . Other impressive ruins littering this vibrant city include the Temple of Olympian Zeus and two agoras (marketplaces; one Greek, one Roman) mingling with first-rate museums.

A fairytale-style castle rises from lush green hills in Bavaria, Germany.

24. Schloss Neuschwanstein, Germany

Fairy-tale castle in a fairy-tale setting

Rising from Alpine foothills in the heart of Bavaria , the 19th-century Schloss Neuschwanstein seems to spring from a child’s imagination of the perfect castle. Its pencil-thin turrets, vertiginous walls and glorious setting make it one of Europe’s most recognizable structures, the prototype for many a Disney castle.

25. Greek Islands, Greece

Whitewashed Mediterranean villages above a turquoise sea

Wherever you land, the Greek Islands grab your attention and don’t let go. While popular islands like Santorini and Mykonos have undoubtedly suffered under the weight of overtourism, there are plenty of others to explore  that offer more off-the-beaten path experiences. Take in the lush Ionian Islands  or the far-flung Dodecanese  — whatever you choose, you're in for an incredible experience. 

Rugged cliffs rise out of the ocean, covered in dark grass.

26. Ring of Kerry, Ireland

A wild and medieval Irish road trip

There’s nowhere quite like Ireland , and the Ring of Kerry , a 179km (111-mile) route through the Iveragh Peninsula, captures all the essential elements of Irish charm on one memorable circuit. Wild and craggy landscapes frame isolated beaches, evocative ruined fortresses stand sentinel over similarly wild Atlantic seas, and windswept mountains watch over villages and islands that could be nowhere else on earth but here.

27. Oslo, Norway

Scandinavia’s gateway to the fjords

Oslo is doing everything it can to claim the prize of Europe’s capital of contemporary style. The Opera House evokes an iceberg in a fjord, public art is a national pastime, and the city’s extraordinary museums span the Viking age to modern Norway. So impressive are the results, that Oslo has become so much more than a mere stopover on the road to the fjords.

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The 20 Most Beautiful Cities in Europe

By Caitlin Morton

Image may contain Garden Outdoors Plant and Campus

Europe has no shortage of natural beauty , but we'll admit it's the cities that keep us coming back to the continent again and again. These European hubs—all with a population of 100,000 or more—have enough culture, food, architecture, cobblestone streets, and mountain views to an itinerary many times over. Warning: They might even make you want to consider a permanent move across the Atlantic. From Athens to York, here are the 20 most beautiful cities in Europe.

Image may contain Outdoors Nature Urban Town Metropolis Building City Scenery Sunlight Landscape Light and Flare

Prague, Czech Republic

Consistently voted one of the best cities in the world , the Czech capital is filled with striking architecture, hilltop views, and charming markets. Pro tip: Head to the Old Town between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. (before the rest of the tourists wake up), when the city has magical atmosphere and a sense of anticipation hangs in the air.

This image may contain Palace House Building Housing Mansion Architecture Brick Walkway and Path

Porto, Portugal

Before you start writing angry emails about us not including Lisbon in this list, hear us out: Portugal's second city is having a serious moment. Oenophiles have been in on the secret for years, but creative types have been flocking to Porto lately, thanks to the city's stunning architecture (yes, there are lots of tiles) and public art. Don't miss the ornate Lello bookshop, which reportedly inspired J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series, and Leça da Palmeira’s Piscinas de Marés (Tidal Pools), a concrete swimming complex juxtaposed against Porto's famous beaches and granite coastline.

Bern Switzerland

Bern, Switzerland

Bern is more than the political center of Switzerland —it also happens to be one of the prettiest spots in the entire country. Built around the Aare River, the city has gorgeous views from nearly every angle, including the covered walkways and charming Old City (a UNESCO World Heritage Site). Make sure to stop by Bern Münster (Bern Cathedral) and the famous 13th-century Zytglogge (clock tower).

Image may contain Building Architecture Pillar and Column

Athens, Greece

Visiting world-renowned ruins in Athens is like taking a step back in time to ancient Greece, where stonework dates back to 400 BC, temples are held up by centuries-old columns, and sculptures of deities are a common sighting. Get your dose of history at the Acropolis, which provides both close-up views of the Parthenon and panoramic views of the city from its hilltop. Get similarly sweeping views (without the heavy footwork) at Lykavittos Hill, reachable via cable car.

Image may contain Nature Building Landscape Outdoors Scenery Panoramic Water City Metropolis Urban and Town

Florence, Italy

Italy has no shortage of beautiful cities, but Florence remains unrivaled in history, art, and architecture. You'll find traces of Renaissance aesthetics all over town (this is the birthplace of the 14th-century movement, after all), like the striking Santa Maria del Fiore (The Duomo) and Basilica of Santa Maria Novella. Meanwhile, Ponte Vecchio and the Uffizi remain essential photo backdrops.

Image may contain Garden Outdoors Plant and Campus

Bruges, Belgium

With its peaceful, tree-lined canals and cobblestone streets, it's easy to see Bruges as one big fairytale setting come to life. Much of the city's charm lies in its immaculately preserved old city, built between the 12th and 15th centuries; grab a seat at a cafe near the Markt (the historic center square), and plan to linger for the better part of a day.

Image may contain Transportation Vehicle Boat Architecture Tower Building Spire Steeple City Town and Metropolis

Budapest, Hungary

With some of the best Art Nouveau architecture in Europe, Budapest has few bad angles. Case in point: The city's famous thermal baths, or the gilded, slightly ostentatious Café Gerbeaud. For the very best angle, though, walk the Széchenyi Chain Bridge at night for unforgettable views of the Hungarian Parliament shining over the Danube River.

Image may contain Ditch Architecture Building Castle Water Outdoors Fort and Canal

Edinburgh, Scotland

Beloved for its endless green hills and fascinating history, Edinburgh looks great in all seasons. Aside from its beautiful Gothic buildings, cobblestoned Royal Mile, and 12th-century castle keeping watch on a hilltop, it also happens to have an extinct volcano within its parameters. Can you say that about your home city?

Image may contain Outdoors Nature Scenery Landscape Tree Plant Mountain Range Mountain Fir Abies and Aerial View

Innsbruck, Austria

Surrounded by ski slopes during the winter and mountainous hiking trails during the summer, Innsbruck is the place for adventurous travelers. But Tyrol's capital city is more than just a place to sleep between exploring the hills—its museums, medieval old town, and Alpenzoo (the highest-altitude zoo in all of Europe) are all well-worth a visit.

Image may contain Roof and Tile Roof

Bergen, Norway

No trip to Norway is complete without a stop in Bergen, the country's second-most populated city. The postcard-perfect town has all the makings of an idyllic Nordic village: scenic harbor, colorful rows of wooden houses, and sweeping views of the surrounding fjords and mountain group (known as the Seven Mountains).

Image may contain Walkway Path Sidewalk Pavement Cobblestone and Flagstone

Paris, France

This one's a given: Paris is a place where romance and history play side by side. Cafés line cobblestone streets, beautiful people stroll along the Seine at all hours, and every neighborhood seems to have its own iconic landmark, be it the Notre-Dame , Sacré Coeur, or Eiffel Tower. For a moment of relative peace among your fellow tourists, take a stroll among the statues at the elegant Luxembourg Gardens, and imagine how perfect life would be if you lived here.

Istanbul Turkey

Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul continues to draw us in, whether it's through the fevered energy of the Grand Bazaar or the old-meets-new aesthetic of Karaköy. But the architecture still shines brightest here, with the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia featuring prominent displays of both Byzantine and Ottoman styles: Think massive domes, colored mosaics, minarets, and Islamic calligraphy.

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Copenhagen, Denmark

Despite its reputation for churning out cutting-edge restaurants and hotels, Copenhagen has an ageless charm that makes you want to book your next trip before your current trip is even over. The whimsical, 1800s-era Tivoli Gardens puts all other amusement parks to shame, while the bohemian commune of Christiania is a hazy, verdant dreamland. And in case you were wondering, yes: The waterfront houses of Nyhavn really are that pretty.

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York, England

From its River Ouse views to narrow alleys and medieval walls, York is the English city you've been dreaming of. Make sure to pay a visit to the Chapter House of York Minster for one of the best stained glass displays on the planet—massive windows lining the octagonal room, shrouding the house in soft, ethereal light.

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Vienna, Austria

Artistic and exquisite, it's no surprise that Vienna was voted the best city in Europe in this year's Readers' Choice Awards. Between visiting the opera and sampling Sachertorte, be sure to pay a visit to Schönbrunn Palace, the former summer residence of the Habsburgs and Vienna's most popular tourist attraction. The palace's Baroque architecture and spectacular gardens are worth bumping elbows with a few fellow tourists.

Image may contain Water Outdoors Canal Building Transportation Vehicle Boat Architecture Castle Human and Person

Ljubljana, Slovenia

Slovenia 's capital city is as romantic and charming as they come—and clean, having been named the “Green Capital of Europe 2016” by the European Commission. Stroll through the pedestrian-only Old Town, sip coffee by the leafy banks of the Ljubljanica River, or take in the baroque architecture and hilltop sixteenth-century Ljubljana Castle.

Image may contain Spire Architecture Tower Steeple Building Church Cathedral City Town Urban and Metropolis

Seville, Spain

From its Old Town (the third-largest in Europe) to its world-renowned tapas scene, Seville blends modernity and history as easily as its famed flamenco dancers tap their feet. Game of Thrones made the Andalusian capital a central shot location for its fifth and subsequent seasons, putting places like lavish Alcázar of Seville on the pop culture map.

Image may contain Walkway Path Flagstone Sidewalk Pavement Furniture Bench Corridor and Cobblestone

Tallinn, Estonia

Tallinn practically overflows with storybook charm, thanks to colorful buildings, turreted castles, and a lovely location on the Baltic Sea. The city has one of the best-preserved historical centers in Europe, with many of its medieval churches and merchant houses falling under UNESCO protection. The views of the city center from Toompea Castle are beautiful no matter the season—in fact, they make those cold, Baltic winters downright bearable .

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St. Petersburg, Russia

St. Petersburg may have been immortalized by Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy, but the city is worth exploring beyond the pages of a book. Palace Square provides front-row viewing of both the Building of the General Staff and Winter Palace, the latter of which may be Russia's finest example of Baroque architecture. Also worth a visit is the five-domed Church of the Saviour on the Spilled Blood, as well as the city's many spectacular Orthodox churches.

Image may contain Building Castle Architecture Fort Moat Water Outdoors Ditch and Canal

Nuremberg, Germany

Germany has no shortage of picturesque cities, but Nuremberg stands out for its distinct blend of old and new. Once the “unofficial” capital of the Holy Roman Empire and an early capital of science and invention, Nuremberg today is best known for its Christkindlesmarkt, castles, and museums.

exciting european cities to visit

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The 15 Best Cities in Europe in 2022

The best cities in Europe, according to Travel + Leisure readers, offer history, art, food, and more.

exciting european cities to visit

Note: If you’re looking for our most recent recommendations, check out the 2023 list of our favorite cities in Europe.

It's time for that long-awaited European vacation , whether it's your first visit to the continent or your tenth. And while you should definitely spend some time on a beach this summer, Europe's cultural capitals should also feature prominently on your itinerary. With world-class art, centuries of history, and destination-worthy fine dining, the best cities in Europe continue to beckon Travel + Leisure readers.

Every year for our World's Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Readers rated cities on their sights and landmarks, culture, cuisine, friendliness, shopping, and overall value.

Spain claimed three of our readers' favorite cities: Cordoba (No. 15), Madrid (No.11), and Seville (No. 3). Readers particularly loved the ways Seville encouraged spontaneity. "What a great city to get lost in," said one voter. "The people are friendly, and you never know what surprises await you. We happened upon outdoor light shows and festivals just wandering around the city."

Nearby, Portugal's two stars, Lisbon and Porto, came in at No. 7 and No. 8, respectively. "I want to move to this city," wrote one reader who visited Lisbon. "Excellent culture, amazing hospitality, and the weather is perfect." Another element of the Portuguese capital that travelers appreciated? The authenticity and quality of its crafts. "The things you purchase were made in Portugal, and you will be proud to bring them home."

A handful of Central and Eastern European cities also made the list. Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia , was ranked No. 6, while Kraków, Poland, came at No. 9. "Ljubljana was a delightful surprise," said one voter. "The capital was beautiful, and we had a fabulous guide for a walking tour of the old town," chimed in another. Turkey, a country of rich cultural exchange that straddles both Europe and Asia, also netted two cities on the list: Istanbul (No. 2) and Bodrum (No. 4)

But it was perennial favorite Florence, voted readers' most loved city in 2020 and 2019, that once again claimed the top spot. Read on to find out why — and to discover the other cities on this year's list of the best cities in Europe, as voted by T+L readers.

1. Florence

Most travelers' experience of the Tuscan capital can be summed up in three words: "Bella, bella, bella!" The city of the Renaissance has architecture, art, food, and history around every corner; many readers said this variety made it a perfect city for honeymooners to stroll around, soaking in the atmosphere. And while iconic sites like the Duomo, the Uffizi gallery, the Pitti Palace, and the Ponte Vecchio are not to be missed, many travelers said that the smaller moments made the city just as enchanting. "The highlight was a wine tasting conducted in a small shop with a wine cellar hundreds of years old," said one reader.

WBA Hall of Fame honoree. Score: 91.06

2. Istanbul

WBA Hall of Fame honoree. Score: 90.97

3. Seville, Spain

Score: 90.12

4. Bodrum, Turkey

Score: 89.31

WBA Hall of Fame honoree. Score: 89.29

6. Ljubljana, Slovenia

Score: 88.49

Score: 88.33

8. Porto, Portugal

Paula Galindo Valle/Travel + Leisure

Score: 88.13

9. Kraków, Poland

Score: 87.97

10. Strasbourg, France

Score: 87.68

Score: 87.54

Score: 87.13

13. Edinburgh

Score: 86.99

14. Salzburg, Austria

Score: 86.95

15. Córdoba, Spain

Score: 86.91

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37 The Best European Cities to Visit in 2024 (Picked by Bloggers)

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Home » 37 The Best European Cities to Visit in 2024 (Picked by Bloggers)

Curious about the best European cities worthy of exploration? I’ve got you covered!

Europe is a continent with a vast selection of countries, cultures, and experiences. For the traveler looking to explore Europe, the number of cities to choose from can be daunting.

That’s why we at Wanderlust Storytellers have combed through our own experience as well as those of 29 other trusted travel bloggers to create this comprehensive list of the 37 best cities in Europe to visit.

From the ancient ruins of Rome to the cosmopolitan nightlife of Berlin, we’ve got it all covered.

But don’t just take our word for it – each city is accompanied by an explanation of why from a fellow traveler who has been there themselves.

If you are planning your first trip to Europe be sure to check our post to help you plan your first trip .

Keep reading to find out which are the best cities in Europe you should check off your list!

37 of The Best European Cities to Visit

With 37 amazing cities to choose from, it can be difficult to pick the right one.

From culture-filled Prague to historical Rome, our list of must-see European cities offers something special for every type of traveler.

1. Rome, Italy

Rome Most Beautiful Cities in Italy

Rome is a city with a rich cultural history, breathtaking ruins, and stunning architecture.

It’s no wonder why it has been dubbed one of the most beautiful European cities; there are iconic sights around every corner and the views never get old.

One of the best ways to experience the city is to take a walking tour , so you can explore Rome’s stunning architecture from the Colosseum to the Pantheon.

Rome in 2 Days - Rome 2 Day Itinerary - Pantheon

Another must-see activity in Rome is touring the Vatican Museums ( purchase your skip-the-line ticket here ) and seeing art that dates back thousands of years.

Rome is also one of the best cities to visit in Europe with kids .

So if you are traveling with kids, you will find our list of what to do in Rome with kids post helpful and you can also use our list of the best family hotels in Rome to find the perfect hotel for your family.

I also highly recommend you book some tours to include in your itinerary:

  • Take a guided tour of the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill . This 2.5 – 3 hour tour includes priority access so that you don’t have to line up for hours at each attraction.
  • On a small group tour, visit the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, and St Peter’s Basilica with an expert guide . Marvel at Michelangelo’s breathtaking frescos on the ceilings of these structures, as your guide reveals their captivating history and significance.
We visited Rome during our honeymoon so it was a really special trip. We only stayed for 3 nights and with only 2 days our days were too fully packed, so I recommend staying for longer if you can. However here is our 2 day Rome itinerary if you are short on time.

Best Time of the Year to Visit Rome

The ideal time to visit Rome is from April to early November when the weather is pleasant and temperatures range from mild to warm.

Where to Stay in Rome

The Otivm Hotel in Rome is a 4-star boutique hotel that features stunning views from its rooftop bar, and it’s conveniently located close to all of Rome’s top attractions.

Otivm Hotel in Rome

Looking for a cozy double or spacious triple room? Otivm Hotel offers comfortable lodging for all types of travelers.

2. Paris, France

Paris tours

Paris is a romantic, historic, and culturally rich city in Europe. It showcases iconic landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and renowned art galleries such as the Louvre, making it one of the most popular European destinations.

Exploring its cobblestone streets and alleys on foot is a delight.

With a vibrant nightlife, a diverse gastronomy scene, and exciting events and festivals, there’s no shortage of activities in this lively city.

Paris with a Baby at the Eiffel Tower

Don’t miss the Eiffel Tower ( book your skip-the-line tour here ), Notre Dame Cathedral, and famous museums like the Louvre and Orsay.

If you are traveling with kids, there are so many family-friendly activities when in Paris that are fun for the whole family!

You can also use our list of the best family hotels in Paris to find the perfect hotel for your family.

When you are in Paris, I recommend booking some tours in advance to ensure you get to see and visit some of the iconic and popular sites.

  • Bateaux Parisiens Seine River Gourmet Dinner & Sightseeing Cruise – Have an unforgettable night in Paris with a gourmet dinner cruise on the Seine River. Enjoy iconic monuments like the Eiffel Tower and Louvre Museum from a luxury Bateaux Parisiens riverboat.
  • Paris Walking Food Tour – Explore Paris’ gastronomy on a guided walking tour. Take your pick: Montmartre or Notre Dame. Savor the essence of each neighborhood with tastings at six locations.
We visited Paris with our baby and had a great time exploring this vibrant city. If you’re planning to travel with a toddler or baby, check out our helpful post with tips for visiting Paris with a toddler (or baby) including best places to stay.

Best Time of the Year to Visit Paris

The best time to visit Paris is in the Spring and Summer (April to October).

The Spring and later summer months are more pleasant with fewer crowds and temperatures ranging from 55°F to 68°F.

Where to Stay in Paris

The CitizenM Paris Gare de Lyon Hotel is modern luxury & convenience in one.

Situated in the 12th district, this 4-star hotel offers a fantastic view of the Seine River & is close to Gare de Lyon train station.

citizenM Paris Gare de Lyon

No better place to stay when visiting the City of Lights!

3. Venice, Italy

Venice The most romantinc things to do in Venice - Check out the Rialto Bridge

Venice makes the top 5 of the best European cities to visit! With its winding canals, stunning architecture, and unique culture, it’s easy to see why.

Explore one of the prettiest cities in all of Europe with a gondola ride along the canals for an unforgettable experience.

Book a private gondola boat ride here with multiple stops to see the great attractions including St. Mark’s Square and the Bridge of Sighs.

Venice in Italy one of the best European cities to visit

Venice’s famous markets are full of local treasures, and its winding cobblestone streets provide an escape from modernity!

You may even get lost whilst admiring art and graffiti from local artists.

Arguably the best European city to visit as a couple as it is particularly romantic.

Whether you’re there for a day or a week, Venice always has something new to offer, view our post for Venice attractions you must see!

Explore Venice with these recommended tours:

  • Murano & Burano Islands Guided Tour – Take a day trip to Murano Island by private boat. Visit a glassblowing factory to witness centuries-old techniques and admire Burano lace.
  • The Real Hidden Venice – Explore hidden Venice on a walking tour with a local guide. Discover authentic neighborhoods, delve into history and lore, and admire quiet canals and artisan workshops that handcraft masks and gondolas.
We visited Venice during our honeymoon and we had a fantastic time! I think it is important to visit Venice during the shoulder season. We visited Venice during September and it was perfect as it wasn’t too busy.

Best Time of the Year to Visit Venice

Plan your visit between April and June or during early autumn when the weather is typically drier and you can bask in glorious sunshine.

Where to Stay in Venice

Hotel Aquarius Venice-Ascend is the perfect choice for travelers visiting Venice, Italy.

Just 700 meters from Venice Santa Lucia Train Station and 3 minutes from the San Stae water bus terminal.

Hotel Aquarius Venice-Ascend Hotel Collection

With modern amenities and a 4-star rating, this hotel is sure to make your stay in Venice truly memorable.

4. Florence, Italy

best cities in Europe Florence with Kids

Florence, the capital of Italy’s Tuscany region, is renowned as one of Europe’s most beautiful cities.

It offers rich Renaissance culture, stunning architecture, and a fascinating history to explore.

From world-famous art galleries to charming alleys, Florence has something for everyone in the family that makes it one of the best European cities to visit.

Indulge in delicious Italian cuisine at its finest restaurants while admiring the city’s captivating beauty.

Don’t forget to visit San Lorenzo Market, Ponte Vecchio Bridge, Pallazzo Vecchio, and Piazzale Michelangelo for breathtaking views.

Best day trips from Lake Como to cities like Florence

Florence offers endless wonders for visitors seeking enchanting experiences, from fresh market shopping to immersing in ancient monuments.

Some tours that we recommend when in Florence:

  • The Duomo Complex and Its Hidden Terraces – Skip the line and discover the secrets of Florence’s famous Duomo, an architectural marvel from the Renaissance era. Includes a guided tour of the cathedral and crypt.
  • Chianti Wine Tour from Florence – Explore the authentic taste of the Tuscan countryside on this Chianti wine tour from Florence.
  • Uffizi Gallery Timed-Entry Tickets and Priority Access – Skip long general admission lines and save time with a pre-booked timed-entry admission ticket.
  • Check out our recommended cooking classes in Florence .
We visited Florence with our three kids during our 3 month trip around Italy. Florence is well worth visiting, we only spent one day there as we opted to stay in Lucca (much cheaper for families when looking at accommodation), but I think you really do need at least 2 days for Florence.

Best Time of the Year to Visit Florence

Florence is at its best from May to September. With the warm weather enjoy the art festivals, alfresco dining, and radiant Italian sunshine that once inspired the Renaissance painters.

Where to Stay in Florence

Hotel Croce Di Malta is the perfect place for travelers visiting Florence who want to be in close proximity to all the sights and attractions.

Located just around the corner from Santa Maria Novella Church and the train station, this 4-star hotel has a lot to offer with its lovely inner garden and swimming pool.

Want more suggestions? Check out more neighborhoods to stay in Florence to help you decide.

Hotel Croce Di Malta

For panoramic views of Florence, Hotel Croce Di Malta’s rooftop terrace offers spectacular vistas of the city’s domes and bell towers.

5. Krakow, Poland

How many days in Krakow?

Krakow located in the south of Poland, is brimming with fascinating history at every turn.

This stunning city features on our list as one of the best cities in Europe to visit for many reasons.

With its crumbling castles, Krakow is an architectural wonderland that will have you captivated from start to finish.

Whether wandering along the Vistula River or eating pierogi for dinner, Krakow will be sure to give you a unique experience like no other.

Things to see in Krakow

No visit to Krakow is complete without taking a stroll down Grodzka Street which showcases some of the city’s most impressive architecture or a walk around the Main Square.

Visit the stunning Wawel Castle, or even take a trip up the nearby mountain range.

There are some unmissable tours and things to do in Krakow that ensure you get to see all that this city has to offer.

Here are some top tours to book to get the most out of your stay in Krakow:

  • Sightseeing Bike Tour of Krakow – Explore the streets and discover the rich history and architecture of Krakow on a bike tour led by a local guide. Pedal by the city’s iconic landmarks such as Jagiellonian University, Wawel Castle, and the Jewish Quarter.
  • Krakow Sightseeing by Vistula River Cruise – Cruise along the Vistula River to discover its history and landmarks: Wawel Castle, Norbertine nuns’ monastery, and Kazimierz, the Jewish district.
  • Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum and Memorial Certified Guided Tour – Experience the gripping realities of Nazi occupancy and pay tribute to lives lost during this full-day tour from Krakow.

Best Time of the Year to Visit Krakow

Kraków is best enjoyed during the months of March to May and September to November. With pleasant weather and fewer tourists, it’s the perfect time to explore.

Where to Stay in Krakow

Forest Hotel is a great place to stay when traveling in Krakow. It’s located just 5 km from the iconic Wawel Royal Castle.

After a long day of sightseeing, it’s the perfect place to come back to and relax while enjoying the stunning views of the forest around you.

exciting european cities to visit

The hotel itself is modern, 4-star quality, and provides everything you need for a pleasant stay.

5. Warsaw, Poland

Warsaw from Vistula River Best Cities in Europe

Warsaw is a city that captures the best of both old and new European styles.

From its stunning baroque architecture to trendy modern cafes, Warsaw is a unique destination with so much to do in Warsaw .

Whether you’re interested in exploring centuries-old monuments or getting lost in the bustling nightlife scene!

With its colorful streets, cultural attractions, and friendly locals, it’s no wonder why this vibrant city is one of the best European cities to visit!

Warsaw is a magnificent city with so much to offer. From its vibrant nightlife and delicious food to its rich history and cultural landmarks.

Warsaw Polish Food Restaurant

One of the most popular things to do is take a walk along the Vistula River, as the area offers breathtaking views, unique sculptures, and plenty of parks and cafes where you can stop by for a quick bite or drink.

Here are some of our top recommended tours when in Warsaw:

  • Segway Tour of Warsaw: 3-Hour Full Guided Tour – Discover the wonders of Warsaw effortlessly on a thrilling small-group Segway tour! No experience is needed.
  • Warsaw Food Tasting Tour with Delicious Poland – Explore Poland’s rich cuisine and Warsaw’s authentic eateries on an evening tasting tour.

Best Time of the Year to Visit Warsaw

Visit Warsaw between June and August. Despite it being the peak season with larger crowds at attractions, the pleasant temperatures and the abundance of seasonal activities make it worth it!

Where to Stay in Warsaw

Mercure Warszawa Centrum is a great choice for travelers visiting Warsaw due to its ideal location in the city center.

Guests at Mercure Warszawa Centrum can explore some of the most famous landmarks in the city, like the Palace of Culture and Science or the modern Shopping Centre Złote Tarasy, which are just steps away from the hotel.

Mercure Warszawa Centrum

With the nearby metro and train station, the Mercure Warszawa Centrum provides an excellent base for exploring all that Warsaw has to offer.

7. Gdansk, Poland

Gdansk Mariacka Street

Its cobbled streets, picturesque red-brick buildings, and captivating vistas of the Motlawa River give it a unique atmosphere that few other cities can match.

Whether you’re seeking culture, history, or a modern nightlife scene, you’ll find it all in Gdansk making it one of the best European cities to visit.

Enjoy long strolls in its colorful parks and embrace the diverse architectural and medieval styles of its towering churches and quaint homes.

Gdansk port Poland

There are plenty of things to do in Gdansk to keep you busy. From exploring the historic Old Town to visiting museums and galleries, there’s plenty to do in this Polish seaside destination.

Art lovers will be enticed by the amber shops, while history buffs can visit the Solidarity Centre or the European Solidarity Museum.

Take time out for a leisurely stroll along Ulica Dluga which runs through the heart of Gdansk’s old quarter.

Don’t forget to take a boat ride down Motlawa River where you can admire Gdansk’s stunning waterfront views!

Here are some of our top recommended tours when in Gdansk:

  • Malbork Castle regular tour – Discover the magnificent Malbork Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the largest castles globally. Explore the castle’s history, grounds, & museum with a knowledgeable guide, showcasing 40,000 medieval artifacts!
  • Gdansk Guided City Cruise on Historical Polish Boat – Explore and experience the beauty of Gdansk from the water. Sail through the charming Old Town, passing iconic landmarks like the water gates and the 15th-century crane.

Best Time of the Year to Visit Gdansk

Gdansk experiences optimal weather conditions during the months of May, June, July, August, and September.

Among these, July and August are typically the warmest months.

Where to Stay in Gdansk

Hotel Sadova is the ideal choice for travelers looking to explore Gdańsk. Located in the heart of the city, you’ll find plenty of things to do nearby.

With a sauna and fitness center, there’s also plenty of opportunity to relax after a busy day exploring all that Gdańsk has to offer.

Best European Cities Gdansk Hotel Sadova

The hotel is just a few minutes walk from attractions like Marina Gdańsk, Green Gate, and Central Maritime Museum.

8. Salzburg, Austria

Salzburg Best European Cities

Salzburg is a stunning and picturesque city located in Austria. Its old-world charm, vibrant culture, stunning Alps, and historic sites draw visitors from all over the world.

Salzburg is an ideal destination for families traveling with teenagers .

It’s no surprise that Salzburg made the list of best European Cities to visit – from its quaint cobblestone streets to its iconic Baroque architecture.

Plus, there are ample opportunities for outdoor activities year-round, making it an ideal destination whatever the season.

One of the most popular, and must-do activities in this beautiful city, is taking a tour along the Salzach River.

A boat ride along the river is an ideal way to take in the beauty of this city, with sights like churches, castles, and lush greenery.

If you’re feeling particularly brave, why not try white water rafting on the rapids near Hellbrunn?

Salzburg Day Trips

For those looking for more leisurely pursuits, join a guided walking tour of some of the city’s historical sites or spend an afternoon exploring Hohensalzburg Castle atop Festungsberg Mountain.

Here are some of our top recommended tours when in Salzburg:

  • The Original Sound of Music Tour in Salzburg – Experience the magic of “The Sound of Music” on a Salzburg sightseeing tour. Explore filming sites with commentary on Salzburg’s attractions, including the iconic gazebo from “Sixteen Going on Seventeen”.
  • Skip-The-Line Salt-Mines and Bavarian Mountains Tour from Salzburg – Explore Obersalzberg’s salt mines on a 4-hour trip from Salzburg. Journey through scenic Alpenstrasse, don miners’ gear, and descend into ancient salt mines. Enjoy a unique raft sail on the salt lake and learn about the underground world.
  • Amphibious Splash Tour on the Water and on the Land in Salzburg – Hop aboard an amphibian vehicle for a one-of-a-kind tour of the city, seeing sights from land and water.
  • Check our post for more fun day trips from Salzburg!

Best Time of the Year to Visit Salzburg

The best time to visit Salzburg is in the winter season, December-February.

If you prefer warm days and abundant sunshine, summer is the perfect time to explore this charming city.

Where to Stay in Salzburg

Imlauer Hotel Pitter Salzburg is the perfect place to stay for travelers visiting Salzburg. Located centrally, it is within close proximity to many of the city’s famous landmarks and sights.

Not only that, guests can also enjoy a sauna and fitness facilities with a stunning mountain view.

Best European Cities Salzburg IMLAUER HOTEL PITTER Salzburg

Plus, if you’re taking the train, Salzburg main station is just 10 minutes away on foot from the hotel.

9. Annecy, France

Lac d Annecy

Annecy is widely known as one of the most beautiful European cities to visit. With its crystal-clear lake and cobblestone streets, Annecy offers travelers a picturesque escape in the French Alps.

The city’s charming canals and meandering river make it one of the best European cities to visit, with plenty of natural beauty to explore.

There are plenty of things to do in Annecy to keep you busy. Shops, restaurants, and cafés lined up along its many colorful buildings provide visitors with plenty of opportunities to soak up the unique atmosphere of Annecy’s vibrant culture.

A popular activity amongst tourists is to take a leisurely stroll through the historic old town, taking in its charming and fascinating architecture.

Annecy

The nearby lake is also perfect for swimming, kayaking, or simply soaking up the sun on the shore.

Mountain biking or hiking are also great options with breathtaking views of the Alps all around.

Here are some of our top recommended tours when in Annecy:

  • Annecy Segway Tour – Experience France’s magnificent Annecy Lake. Ride a Segway along waterfront promenades, visit Jardin de l’Europe, Pâquier, and Charles Bosson gardens, and pause to appreciate the Imperial Palace.
  • Private Walking Tour of Annecy’s Historical Center – Explore the stunning city of Annecy on a private, customized tour. Discover its rich history and culture, including the iconic Lake of Annecy and Palais de l’Isle.

Best Time of the Year to Visit Annecy

The ideal time to visit Annecy is from September to October. The weather is simply superb during this period, and it’s not as crowded as during peak travel seasons.

Where to Stay in Annecy

Impérial Palace offers a luxurious experience in the French Alps, with stunning views of Lake Annecy and the mountains.

Located in the heart of Annecy, it’s the perfect base to explore this picturesque lakeside town.

Best European Cities Annecy Impérial Palace

Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway or an exciting family vacation, Impérial Palace is perfect for your trip to Annecy!

10. Dublin, Republic of Ireland

Contributed by World by Weekend

Dublin View Best European Cities

Dublin, the capital of the Republic of Ireland, is a vibrant city full of history, culture, and a welcoming atmosphere.

You’ll love strolling the streets, listening to buskers on Grafton, and mingling with locals in the pub.

While the year-round rainy weather and cooler temperatures may deter some visitors, there’s no shortage of fun activities and ways to escape the rain in Dublin !

I’ve lived in Dublin for the past two years, and I love exploring this city I get to call home.

Some of my favorite things to do in Dublin are to try different cafes around the city and explore the city’s many free – and excellent – museums.

Dublin Temple Bar Best European Cities

Here are some of our top recommended tours when in Dublin :

  • Guinness Storehouse Tours and Tickets -The Storehouse boasts a 7-story interior shaped like a pint glass. Visitors from around the world come to explore its rich history, savor a fresh complimentary pint from the barrel, and enjoy multimedia exhibits.
  • Book of Kells Tour with Dublin Castle – Discover Irish history on a tour of the Book of Kells and Dublin Castle. Visit Trinity College Library and delve into its ancient treasures. Then, wander through Dublin Castle’s gardens.
  • 2-Hour Historical Walking Tour from Dublin – Join the group walking tour for a fascinating journey through Irish history.

Best Time of the Year to Visit Dublin

The best time to visit Dublin is during the summer when Dublin comes alive and offers the best weather and longer days.

While this is the most crowded time of year, nothing beats the vibrancy of the locals enjoying the sunshine and warm weather.

Where to Stay in Dublin

The Grand Canal Hotel is located in the heart of Dublin and is just a ten-minute walk from the city center.

When you need relaxation during your stay, the on-site bar and restaurant are a popular spot to watch sports and enjoy Dublin’s finest burgers.

Dublin The Grand Canal Hotel Booking.com

With its large, comfortable rooms, it’s a great choice for travelers looking to explore the city.

11. Reykjavík, Iceland

Contributed by Iceland Trippers

Reykjavik Blue Lagoon Best Cities in Europe Iceland Trippers

One of the must-visit European cities to visit is Reykjavik, Iceland since it is known for world-class restaurants, amazing museums about Viking culture, and is a great home base from which to explore more natural parts of the country.

With its dramatic coastline, stunning natural beauty, and vibrant culture, it’s no wonder why it’s among the top European cities to visit.

Whether you are looking for breathtaking views of the Northern Lights or a culinary tour through traditional Icelandic cuisine, Reykjavik is guaranteed to deliver an unforgettable experience for all travelers.

Reykjavik Coast

Here are some of our top recommended tours when in Reykjavik:

  • So, you can start your Reykjavik itinerary with a South Iceland full-day trip that includes stops at the majestic  Seljalandsfoss waterfall and a visit to a local glacier at Sólheimajökull.
  • Next, do a Golden Circle Full Day Tour so that you can see the Gullfoss waterfall, visit local geysers, and explore Þingvellir National Park.
If you plan to visit the Blue Lagoon, be sure to stop by on your way from the airport to Reykjavik. We made the mistake of going all the way to the capital only to realize that the Blue Lagoon sits right near the airport.

Best Time of the Year to Visit Reykjavik

The best time of year to visit Reykjavik is from June through August since temperatures are warm and days are long.

So, you will have plenty of hours of daylight to enjoy the natural wonders of Iceland.

Where to Stay in Reykjavik

201 Hotel is one of the best places to stay in Reykjavik. It’s a modest hotel with simple, well-appointed rooms that include a delicious complimentary breakfast.

The convenient location provides easy access to Smáralind Shopping Center, which can be reached in just 9 minutes on foot.

Best European Cities, Reykjavic

Joggers and walkers are spoiled for choice with a variety of scenic paths located around Lake Ellidavatn, just 5 km away.

12. Budapest, Hungary

Contributed by Linda on the Run

Budapest Linda on the Run

One of the best eastern European cities to visit is Budapest since it is a stunning city with the Danube River running through it.

Budapest is one of the underrated European cities, yet it has so much to offer.

This city is known for exceptional thermal baths, like the Gellért Baths, and is home to many gorgeous historic buildings like Buda Castle, the Hungarian Parliament Building, and St. Stephens Basilica.

While spending one day in Budapest be sure to book a cruise along the Danube River so that you can see the city’s skyline in a whole new way.

You can also go on a fun half-day trip to visit a local winery in Etyek before digging into an authentic Hungarian homecooked meal.

Hungarian parliament, Budapest at sunset

Whether you’re looking for an adventure-filled vacation or simply want to relax and soak up the local atmosphere, Budapest is sure to leave you with lasting memories.

Here are some of our top recommended tours when in Budapest:

  • 1-Hour Sightseeing Cruise – Experience Budapest’s iconic landmarks while cruising down the River Danube. Enjoy a 1-hour sightseeing cruise, savoring a refreshing cocktail or beverage. Glide by Buda Castle and Vigado Concert Hall, among other notable monuments.
  • Half-Day Etyek Wine Tour from Budapest with Meal – Experience a small group wine-tasting tour near Budapest. Meet local winemakers, savor delicious home-cooked meals, and sample quality Hungarian wines from family-owned cellars.

Best Time of the Year to Visit Budapest

May, June, and early October are all good times to visit Budapest since crowds are at a minimum and prices are reasonable.

While September may seem like a good time to visit, this is when most of the conventions are held in the city. So, we had a hard time finding a hotel at this time of year. Therefore, if you visit in September be sure to book your hotel well in advance.

Where to Stay in Budapest

Prestige Hotel Budapest is the perfect place to stay in Budapest since it is centrally located, with stunning rooms that feature beautiful hardwood floors.

Prestige Hotel is in a prime location, only a few hundred meters from the Danube River, Chain Bridge, and Buda Castle it is perfect for sightseeing!

Prestige Hotel Budapest Booking.com

There’s also a gorgeous hanging garden onsite as well as a spa with a stellar sauna. 

13. Madrid, Spain

Contributed by Out of Office Mindset

Madrid

Madrid is one of the best European cities to visit for the foodie traveler.

No trip to the Spanish capital is complete without indulging in traditional tapas and a good glass of wine—or two!

When you visit, be sure to try the fried squid sandwich (bocadillo de calamares) at La Campana, the famous roast pig at Restaurant Botin, and the handcrafted dark chocolate at Chocolala Belga.

Madrid Paella Out of Office Mindset

Here are some of our top recommended tours when in Madrid:

  • try tapas and win e tasting . You’ll visit top restaurants to savor dishes like Iberian ham and chickpea stew and sample some of Spain’s finest wines.
  • take a local cooking class to learn how to make a traditional paella while sipping on Sangria!
Our advice for visiting Madrid is to come hungry and fill the time between meals with trips to the Prado Museum and the Royal Palace !

Best Time of the Year to Visit Madrid

The best time to visit Madrid is in the shoulder season, April, May, September, and October, with cooler temperatures and smaller crowds.

Where to Stay in Madrid

B&B HOTEL Madrid Centro Puerta del Sol is our favorite place to stay in Madrid.

The hotel is in the heart of the city next to the Puerta del Sol square and train station and within walking distance of Plaza del Callao and Plaza Mayor.

Best European Cities to Visit Madrid B&B Hotel

But what we enjoy most about the hotel are the noise-canceling windows that block out the hustle and bustle of the streets below.

14. London, United Kingdom

Contributed by In Search of Sarah

Neal's Yard London In Search of Sarah

London is one of the best European cities to visit!

With rich culture and history, a vast amount of incredible things to do, and fantastic public transport, London should definitely be on everyone’s list of places to visit in Europe.

England’s capital has something to offer everyone. London is one of the most visited European cities with over 19 million visitors a year!

London is great for quick 24-hour trips, but it is also a great city to visit for longer.

Here are some of our top recommended tours when in London:

  • Soaring above the city aboard the world’s tallest observation wheel, the London Eye Skip the Line Ticket
  • Touring through one of London’s most iconic buildings, Westminster Abbey

London Best European Cities

You can also tour around London without spending any money at all! There are tons of amazing free things to do in London if you’re on a tight budget.

You can ride the London tube for £8.10 ($10.40 USD) all day. I wish I knew this ahead of time because the transit is so good in London and it’s a great way to save money rather than paying for individual fares.

Best Time of the Year to Visit London

London is fantastic to visit all throughout the year! Spring is beautiful when the flowering trees are in bloom.

Summer offers visitors perfect weather conditions. Fall offers a reprieve from the heat and a quieter travel time.

London is an ideal European city to visit in winter , it’s magical with all the streets lit up with Christmas lights, cozy winter markets, and concerts.

Where to Stay in London

Hotel Indigo London at Leicester Square offers comfortable accommodation on a budget!

Best European Cities London Indigo Hotel

With close access to the tube as well as major sites and attractions, like Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, and Covent Garden!

After more ideas of where to stay? We also have a list of the best London hotels with rooftop pools .

15. Berlin, Germany

Contributed by Only in Germany

Berlin, Best European Cities

Berlin, the vibrant capital of Germany, is a city that I just can’t recommend enough.

The city has an impressive range of architecture and a fascinating mix of history, culture, and a cutting-edge vibe that makes it one of the best European destinations to explore.

Additionally, its expansive parks and gardens provide an excellent backdrop for evening strolls or morning runs.

Get ready for an adventure like no other!

Best European Cities, Berlin

During my first visit, I spent four nights in Berlin, but trust me, there’s so much to do. On my second visit, I stayed for seven nights. The city’s energy is contagious, and you’ll find yourself constantly drawn to its hidden gems and cultural offerings.

Berlin is a city that effortlessly combines history, culture, and modernity. It’s a place that will leave you inspired, enlightened, and hungry for more.

Here are some of our top recommended tours when in Berlin:

  • Explore Berlin Wall to Reichstag and Brandenburg Gate Tour – Discover Berlin at your own pace with a self-guided audio tour featuring local historian commentary. Use an offline app on your smartphone to explore historical sites.
  • Third Reich Walking Tour – Uncover Nazi Germany’s story in Berlin: from Hitler’s rise to power to the Nazi regime, Gestapo, and SS. Delve into Berlin’s siege and the darkest details of WW2.

Best Time of the Year to Visit Berlin

The best time to visit Berlin is during the summer months, from June to August. The weather is delightful, and the city truly comes alive with open-air events, music festivals, and street parties.

Take advantage of this vibrant season by exploring Berlin’s parks, lounging in beer gardens, and soaking in the lively atmosphere.

Where to Stay in Berlin

Looking for a place to stay? I’ve got a fantastic recommendation for you. The Hotel Adlon Kempinski is one of the best hotels in Berlin .

It is pure luxury in the heart of Berlin, just a stone’s throw away from the Brandenburg Gate.

Best European Cities, Berlin

With its impeccable service, lavish accommodations, and stunning city views, it’s the perfect home base for your Berlin adventure.

16. Lisbon, Portugal

Contributed by The Algarve Family

Lisbon Palace Best European Cities

Lisbon is an amazing European city to visit. It is known for its narrow cobbled streets, yellow trams, impressive bridges over the Tagus River, colorful houses, and azulejos (glazed tiles).

All these create a unique environment and set Lisbon apart from the rest of European cities.

The Portuguese capital is one of the oldest European cities, meaning it has many remarkable historical sights to visit.

Some of the top attractions include São Jorge Castle, Belem Tower, Jeronimos Monastery, Alfama and Barrio Alto, and many others.

Lisbon European Cities The Algarve Family

We live in the south of Portugal and often come to Lisbon and every time we find new interesting places to visit and amazing things to do. No matter how long you stay in the city there will always be something to discover.

Here are some of our top recommended tours when in Lisbon:

  • Lisbon Boat Cruise – Enjoy Lisbon’s skyline and landmarks on a boat cruise along the Tagus River. Starting from Terreiro do Paço in the historic center, sail to Torre de Belém in Belém district for picturesque views.
  • Private Driver around Lisbon – Design your own Lisbon sightseeing tour with a personal guide. Customize your itinerary to match your interests and travel in air-conditioned luxury.

Alternatively, the yellow trams are an efficient and cheap way to travel and guide yourself around Lisbon.

Best Time of the Year to Visit Lisbon

The months of April, May, and October are the best time to visit Lisbon. When the weather is nice and the city is not too busy.

Where to Stay in Lisbon

In the historical center, Hotel MeraPrime Gold Lisboa is one of the best places to stay.

Located just a 3-minute walk from Commerce Square with a stunning view of the Tagus River, it is the perfect base to enjoy your stay in this historic city.

Best European Citites Hotel MeraPrime Gold Lisboa

So if you’re looking for an unforgettable stay in Lisbon, Hotel MeraPrime Gold is definitely worth considering!

17. Prague, Czech Republic

Contributed by Time Travel Turtle

Prague River

At first, Prague dazzles with the scale of its historic center – from the imposing Prague Castle up on a hill, rolling down through Malá Strana to the Vltava River, across the famous Charles Bridge adorned with sculptures, and into the heart of the medieval layout.

But the more you explore, the more Prague’s modern culture will cast its spell, from the relaxed beer gardens (with astonishingly cheap lagers) to its quirky street art, making it one of the most famous Eastern European cities to visit.

Prague Best European Cities

Decades of oppression blended with an opulent imperial heritage have created a city that’s equal parts luxurious and edgy.

Here are some of our top recommended tours when in Prague:

  • Prague 3-hour Afternoon Walking Tour – Discover all the main sights of Prague in just a few hours with a comprehensive walking tour. Your private guide will take you to notable places like Charles Bridge and the Church of Saint Nicolas and skip the line at Prague Castle.
  •   1-hour Devil’s Channel Cruise – Discover an overlooked part of Prague and experience its own little Venice. Climb aboard a small boat and learn about the Devil’s Channel and the ancient buildings lining the Vltava River.
  • Prague Foodie Tour – Explore Prague’s authentic food and drink scenes with a local guide. Skip tourist traps and discover hidden gems while immersing yourself in the city’s culture and cuisine.
For the main things to do in Prague , don’t miss St Vitus Cathedral, the Old Town Square, a river cruise, and a food tour. But I also really loved using Prague as a base for some day trips by train to places like Karlstejn Castle and Kutná Hora.

Best Time of the Year to Visit Prague

Winter is cold and summer is busy, so the best time to visit Prague is spring (April and May) or autumn (September and October).

Where to Stay in Prague

For beautiful accommodation in the old town, I would recommend BoHo Prague Hotel .

Best European Cities BoHo Prague Hotel

The luxurious rooms have plenty of modern touches, but there is still lots of traditional elegance throughout the property.

18. Munich, Germany

Contributed by Paulmarina

Munich Paul Marina

Munich is the busy capital of Bavaria and a prime city to experience for all culture and food lovers.

Munich has plenty to offer , and you will be busy no matter your interests. I highly recommend a museum tour!

Art lovers will enjoy the Pinakothek der Moderne, car aficionados will want to see the BMW museum and families with kids should absolutely go to sea life or the world’s largest science and technology exhibition, the Deutsche museum.

Munich Best European Cities

Here are some of our top recommended tours when in Munich:

  • Viktualienmarkt Gourmet Food Tour – Explore Munich’s historic landmarks: Old Town Hall, Frauenkirche, and St. Peter’s Church. Indulge in local and international delicacies at the lively Viktualienmarkt.
  • Beer Tour & Bavarian Dinner with a Local Beer Expert – Discover Munich’s beer culture with a local guide. Enjoy a beer tasting and Bavarian dinner while learning about the city’s heritage.

Best Time of the Year to Visit Munich

Try to make it to Munich by the end of September to experience the world’s biggest folks’ fest, the Oktoberfest.

Spring offers similar festivities with the Frühlingsfest (spring feast).

Where to Stay in Munich

Vier Jahreszeiten Kempinski Munich is more than just a place to stay in the heart of Germany. It’s an experience!

Located in the vibrant center of Munich, this luxurious hotel is within easy walking distance of Marienplatz Square, as well as boutique shops, galleries, and museums.

Vier Jahreszeiten Kempinski München Best European Cities

And if you’re looking for something even more tranquil, why not take a leisurely 5-minute stroll to Hofgarten Park for stunning views?

19. Barcelona, Spain

Contributed by Sydney Expert

Barcelona Best European Cities

Barcelona, the capital of Catalona in Northern Spain combines a strong cultural heritage with stunning architecture and fabulous food making it a must-see on any European vacation and one of the best places to visit in Europe as a family!

As you walk through the streets of Barcelona, you’ll are surrounded by the works of Antoni Gaudi, one of the city’s most famous architects.

From the Sagrada Familia and Park Guell to Casa Mila and Casa Batllo the opportunity to view these unique and colorful buildings should not be missed, it’s clear to see why it’s one of the greatest European cities to visit.

On our visit, we took a walking tour that included 6 of his most impressive buildings. 

Barcelona architecture Sydney Expert

We also recommend you spend some time in the well-preserved Gothic Quarter which along with a stunning cathedral, is home to the Picasso Museum, an incredible collection of more than 4000 pieces by the artist.  

Nearby you will find La Boqueria, the famous city market where you can taste many of Catalonia’s famous dishes under one roof.

If you are staying a few days then a tapas tour will help you uncover the best dishes to order and places to eat while you are there. 

As mentioned above Barcelona is a great city to visit if you are traveling with your kids. You can find a list of the best things to do in Barcelona with kids here.

Here are some of our top recommended tours when in Barcelona:

  • Skip-the-Line Sagrada Familia & Park Güell Tour – Discover Antoni Gaudi’s masterpieces with a skip-the-line tour of Parc Güell and the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. Learn about the intricate mosaics and motifs with the help of a local guide.
  • Skip-the-line Guided Tour of Picasso Museum – Visit the Picasso Museum in Barcelona to see over 4,000 of the artist’s works. Book a guided small-group tour with skip-the-line tickets and headsets for clear communication with your guide.
  • El Born Food Walking Tour with Tapas and Drinks – Take a guided food tour of El Born in Barcelona. Enjoy the culture and history of Catalonia while savoring tapas and drinks with fellow travelers.

From its delicious food to its lively nightlife and stunning architecture this city is sure to leave a lasting impression on you.

Best Time of the Year to Visit Barcelona

We think the ideal time to visit Barcelona is in early spring before the crowds arrive but the weather is warming up. For beach time, late Spring is a better choice.

Where to Stay in Barcelona

We prefer to stay just outside the tourist hotspot of the Gothic Quarter and head a little uptown to L’Esquerra de L’Eixample.

This is an ideal place to base your stay in Barcelona if you want to be close to the city center but a little removed from the tourist crush.

Best European Cities The Corner Hotel

Despite being close to the action, The Corner Hotel gives you a sense of distance from the hustle and bustle of tourism so you can relax in peace.

20. Dubrovnik, Croatia

Contributed by Four Around The World

Dubrovnik, Best European Cities

Dubrovnik may have found new popularity thanks to the popularity of the television series Game Of Thrones in recent years, but that is only one of the many reasons to visit.

Situated on the Adriatic Coast of Croatia, Dubrovnik offers the perfect mix of history, culture, and breathtaking natural scenery.

You can easily get lost amongst the labyrinth of streets surrounding the UNESCO World Heritage Old Town and experience a little authentic European life first-hand.

Best European Cities, Dubrovnik

Don’t miss your chance to explore the Dubrovnik city walls.

We don’t recommend doing this in the middle of a hot summer day. Especially if you are visiting Dubrovnik with kids ! We spent 4 nights in Dubrovnik during summer and made sure to do the walk later in the afternoon.

Here are some of our top recommended tours when in Dubrovnik:

  • Cable Car Ride and Old Town Walking Tour plus City Walls – Discover Dubrovnik’s historic beauty with the Dubrovnik Super Saver package. Enjoy a cable car ride up Mt. Srd for amazing views, a walking tour of the Old Town, and a self-guided tour of the city walls with entrance tickets provided.
  • Dubrovnik and Lokrum Island sea kayak tour – Visit Lokrum Island, near Dubrovnik’s coast, by taking a short boat ride or paddling on a sea kayak. Enjoy the stunning botanical gardens, Benedictine Monastery, beaches, caves, and calm waters for swimming or snorkeling.

Best Time of the Year to Visit Dubrovnik

One of the best times to visit Dubrovnik is during either the spring or autumn months when the weather is mild and the city is a little less crowded than during the busy summer months.

Where to Stay in Dubrovnik

Accommodation outside of the Old Town is more affordable. There are plenty of private rentals available, many with views over the city and the ocean.

However, if you are looking for a relaxing hotel to stay Rixos Premium Dubrovnik is an all-inclusive hotel with something to offer for everyone visiting the scenic city of Dubrovnik.

Rixos Premium Dubrovnik

Rixos Premium offers everything you need, from a spacious spa area with indoor and outdoor pools showcasing breathtaking sea views, to 3 bars and 3 restaurants.

21. Edinburgh, Scotland

Contributed by Adventures of Chels .

Edinburgh Castle Adventures of Chels

One of the best European cities to visit is Edinburgh in the UK.  Edinburgh is one of the best cities to visit in Europe as it offers endless amounts of sites to see, activities to do, and beauty all around. 

It’s a city that shouldn’t be missed! It is an amazing place to visit as a family .

Some of the best things to do in the city include visiting Edinburgh Castle, Hiking to the top of Arthur’s Seat, and checking out the beautiful view at Calton Hill. 

Street view of the historic old town, Edinburgh

Here are some of our top recommended tours when in Edinburgh:

  • Original Harry Potter Locations Tour – If you’re a Harry Potter fan be sure to take the Original Harry Potter Locations Tour which visits all the places around the city that inspired J.K Rowling’s magical story. 
  • City Sightseeing Edinburgh Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour – Consider a Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour if you’d like the ease of transportation that takes you from destination to destination to see in the city. 
My personal experience in Edinburgh was that I left wanting to have seen more!  Consider spending a solid 3 days in Edinburgh alone before renting a car and exploring more of Scotland.

Best Time of the Year to Visit Edinburgh

Visiting between June and August offers long days filled with sunlight, making it the ideal time for lovers of the arts. The Edinburgh Fringe, the world’s largest arts festival, takes place in August and spans three weeks.

Where to Stay in Edinburgh

The Lady Stair’s Apartment is the perfect place for travelers visiting Edinburgh. This hotel offers clean rooms in a great location for a competitive price. 

The Lady Stair's Edinburgh Booking.com

Whether you’re looking to explore Edinburgh Castle, the National Museum of Scotland, or take a stroll down the Royal Mile, Lady Stair’s Apartment is conveniently located near it all!

It’s just what you need for your visit to this fun city!

22. Vienna, Austria

Contributed by Haley Blackall

Vienna, Best European Cities

Vienna, the capital of Austria, is one of the best cities in Europe to visit.

This enchanting city is home to some of the world’s most famous palaces and museums.

On any visit to Vienna, a trip to the grand Schonbrunn Palace and Gardens is an absolute must.

Vienna, Austria Hayley Blackall

If you are a lover of art, why not gaze your eyes on The Kiss by Gustav  Klimt at the Belvedere Palace.

Here are some of our top recommended tours when in Vienna:

  • Schönbrunn Palace & Gardens Skip-the-Line Tour – Skip the lines and see the beautiful Schönbrunn Palace and gardens. Take a guided tour to learn about its fascinating history and stunning interiors.
  • Upper Belvedere & Permanent Collection Entry Ticket -Visit the Upper Belvedere in Vienna to see Gustav Klimt’s famous painting “The Kiss” and other works in the Permanent Collection.

Best Time of Year to Visit

Vienna, like many European cities, showcases its true charm during the seasons of Spring and Autumn. Plan your visit during these times to fully experience the city’s beauty.

I enjoyed a whole week in Vienna during May and it was a fantastic time to visit because the blossoms were in full bloom and the crowds hadn’t reached their high season numbers.

Where to Stay in Vienna

Where to stay in Vienna depends on the duration of your stay. If you visit Vienna for only 2-3 days to see the top sights, it is recommended to stay in Vienna’s Innere Stadt neighborhood, commonly known as the old town center.

The Guesthouse is the ideal place for travelers seeking to explore Vienna.

Located in the heart of the old town, it’s a mere 5-minute walk from Saint Stephen’s Cathedral and next to the Albertina Museum.

The Guest House Vienna Booking.com

Rooms on the upper floors have views that stretch out over the State Opera and right into the city center.

23. Porto, Portugal

Contributed by Globe Gazers

Porto Best European Cities

While Lisbon is one of Europe’s most popular destinations, nearby Porto is worth visiting as well.

Porto has a beautiful harbor, stunning architecture, and a lively yet down-to-earth atmosphere that make it easy to feel welcome here.

Of course, Porto’s wine scene isn’t too shabby either. One of the best things to do in Porto is to sample the local Port wines.

Taking a cellar tour in the historic Vila Nova de Gaia area is a must-do when visiting this small yet impressive city. 

Wander through the city streets, admiring the blue and white tiles featured on the facade of many buildings.

Take a TukTuk tour of the historical city center for a unique sightseeing opportunity as you listen to stories of this northern Portugal town.

Porto Best European Cities

Porto is also a great destination for solo travelers.

In fact, my own first-ever solo trip was to Porto! It’s easy to navigate, safe and offers plenty to do without being overwhelming.

Here are some of our top recommended tours when in Porto:

  • Cockburn’s Cellar Tour Classic or Pairing Option -Experience a guided visit and premium tasting at Cockburn’s Lodge, the largest Port cellar in Vila Nova de Gaia’s historic quarter. Witness the only open cooperage in the area.
  • Guided Historical Center Tuk Tuk Tour – Experience a guided tuk-tuk tour of Porto’s main sites at sunset, at night, or during the day. Explore the historical highlights with your guide and indulge in an authentic glass of Port along the way.

Best Time of the Year to Visit Porto

The best time to visit Porto is between April and June or September and October. During this time, the temperatures are mild and the humidity is low.

The days tend to be sunny, but usually not too hot. This makes it the perfect time of year for comfortably exploring the city’s many attractions.

Where to Stay in Porto

Turim Oporto Hotel is the perfect place to stay for travelers visiting Porto.

Located near popular points of interest such as Sao Bento Metro Station, Sao Bento Train Station, and Oporto Coliseum, it’s easy to explore the city with ease.

Turim Oporto Hotel Porto Booking.com

It’s centrally located and a 4-star property, offering comfort and convenience in one.

If you are after a hotel with a pool, I suggest you check out our list of the best Porto hotels with pools here.

24. Athens, Greece

Contributed by The World Travel Guy

Athens Greece The World Travel Guy

Athens is an amazing city for its history, food, museums, and archaeological sights.

There are fantastic restaurants on pretty much every street corner in Athens! It would be worth visiting this city just for the food alone.

We spent a few days in Athens as a family and it was amazing, but we would’ve loved to stay longer. One of the main day tours we regret missing is Meteora.

Athens Theatre Best European Cities

These are some monasteries perched on the rock cliffs in northern Greece in Meteora , and you can visit them on a train trip from Athens, but we ran out of days in our itinerary before we could make it happen.

Here are some of our top recommended tours when in Athens:

  • Acropolis, Parthenon & Acropolis Museum Guided Tour – Visit the new Acropolis Museum to discover fascinating archaeological findings and explore Greece’s most significant monument through group or private tours.
  • Cape Sounion Sunset Tour – Take a zero carbon footprint evening bus tour to see the beautiful sunset at Cape Sounio. Drive through the Greek Riviera suburbs and watch the stunning view of the sunset over the Aegean Sea from the Temple of Poseidon.
  • Alternatively, take a look at our blog on 14 Best Athens Day Trips and choose the one that is best suited to your vacation style.

Best Time of the Year to Visit Athens

Athens is lovely to visit in the Spring months of March to May.

Where to Stay in Athens

Evripidou Suites is the perfect hotel for travelers visiting Athens.

This hotel is centrally located and only 600 meters from Monastiraki Square, it’s easy to get around and explore all that the city has to offer.

With its central location, it is close to the Acropolis and other famous sights of Athens.

Evripidou Suites, Athens Booking.com

It has a very good breakfast, and there are rooms to suit different budgets so no matter what your budget is, you can join in on the fun!

After more hotel ideas? You might like to check out our list of our favorite Athens hotels with rooftop pools (and amazing views).

25. Brussels, Belgium

Contributed by Virginia Vacation Guide

Best European Cities, Brussels

The Belgian capital city of Brussels is filled with culture, history, top museums, and world-class cuisine.

One of the highlights of the city is La Grand-Place, which is a large open plaza surrounded by ornate buildings. The most prominent building is the Hôtel de Ville, which is ornamented with a bell tower.

As a musician, I especially loved the Musical Instruments Museum, which highlights unique musical instruments through the centuries.

There is an excellent audioguide that accompanies the tour and gives you a chance to hear the instruments as you walk around the museum exhibits.

Brussels Best European Cities

No trip to Brussels would be complete without trying some of the staples of Belgium – particularly Belgian pale ale and Belgian chocolate!

You can find many shops near the Grand-Place that sell Belgian beer and chocolate, either as souvenirs to take home or to sit down and enjoy.

Here are some of our top recommended tours when in Brussels:

  • Magritte Museum Entry Ticket -Immerse yourself in the world of surrealist art by visiting the Magritte Museum and exploring its collection of masterpieces.
  • Ultimate Private Highlights&Hidden Gems – Explore Brussels stress-free with a personalized private tour tailored to your interests. Your guide will show you famous landmarks and hidden gems while recommending local eateries to try. Discuss your preferences with your guide to plan the perfect itinerary.

Best Time of the Year to Visit Brussels

Spring is a great time to visit Brussels. The weather is mild and crowds are smaller.

Prices for hotels and airfare are generally a little lower than the peak summer months.

Where to Stay in Brussels

Les Lofts d’Artistes is a fabulous, highly-rated guest house that features large rooms, a terrace, and a great central location in Brussels.

Popular points of interest near the accommodation include Palais de Justice, Place Sainte-Catherine and Notre-Dame du Sablon – all within easy reach of Les Lofts d’Artistes!

Les Lofts d'Artistes Brussels Booking.com

Whether you’re in town for sightseeing or business, this guesthouse will be ideal for your stay!

26. Istanbul, Turkey

Contributed by My Adventures Across The World

Istanbul Best European Cities

There is no doubt that Istanbul is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.

Bridging two continents, this is a sprawling city where old meets new, and where the old is an incredible mix and overlap of various historical periods and civilizations. 

You won’t have a shortage of places to visit in the city.

In fact, there is so much to see and do that you are better off having a detailed Istanbul itinerary that allows you to explore by area and in a logical way.

Among the unmissable attractions, make sure not to skip the Hagia Sophia (once an Orthodox Church, then a mosque, then a museum and now once again a mosque) and the Blue Mosque nearby.

Istanbul Best European Cities, Trams

As they are both working mosques, the lines to get in are often quite long so you are better off joining a guided tour that takes you to both places.

Not far from it, do not miss the Basilica Cistern, which was built in 532 upon orders of Justinian (the same Roman Emperor that ordered the construction of Hagia Sophia).

It’s a fantastic example of a cistern in the city (there are more, but this one is by far the best one) where you will see 336 columns built with stones sourced from other buildings in the city.

Plan to visit the incredible Grand Bazaar where you can shop for a variety of souvenirs. It will take you a few hours to explore, so plan to devote an entire afternoon to that.

You should plan to spend at least four full days in Istanbul. That’s how long we stayed on our most recent trip and we actually wished we had an extra day to just explore at a slower pace.

Here are some of our top recommended tours when in Istanbul:

  • Blue Mosque & Hagia Sophia Small-Group Tour – Tour Istanbul’s renowned landmarks, including the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia, with a knowledgeable guide. Explore the Sultanahmet neighborhood and the Hippodrome to get a taste of local life.
  • Guided Skip-the-line Basilica Cistern Tour – Discover the mystery of Medusa heads from Greek mythology on a 30-minute tour of the 4th-century Basilica Cistern.

Best Time of the Year to Visit Istanbul

Istanbul is crowded no matter when you visit, and it can get very cold in the winter months and equally hot in the summer months.

September is a good month to go as the days are nice and long but it’s not nearly as hot.

April would be good too, but there are higher chances of rain.

Where to Stay in Istanbul

The city suffers from a lot of traffic and it is very crowded, so staying in a centrally located hotel is essential for easy access to all the attractions.

Fer Hotel Istanbul Booking.com

We stayed at Fer Hotel in Sultanahmet and enjoyed the comfortable rooms, the excellent service and the fantastic breakfast served on the terrace floor every morning.

27. Malaga, Spain

Contributed by World Travel Connector

Malaga,Best European Cities, Cityscape

Beautiful Malaga is the capital city of the famed Costa del Sol in Spain.

Malaga is a top beach destination in Europe. It is also one of the best cities in Europe to visit for the vibrant nightlife, great shopping, fabulous museums, and fantastic tapas bars.

Málaga is known for its beautiful sandy beaches. There is no visit to the capital of Costa del Sol without enjoying the sunshine on beaches in Malaga.

Besides the great beaches, crawling amazing tapas and cocktail bars are among the best things to do in the city.

Malaga

I enjoyed the Michelin-star Balausta restaurant the most. The restaurant is in the gorgeous Palacio Solecio Hotel.

Here are some of our top recommended tours when in Malaga:

  • Museo Picasso Málaga: Ticket & Audioguide – You can see over 200 works by the Cubism creator himself, as well as some interesting temporary exhibitions.
  • Go local for a day! – Skip the typical tourist tours and discover the real Malaga with a local guide. Explore the city by foot, uncovering hidden gems and landmarks off the beaten path.
  • The best way to see Malaga is on foot. Check out our favorite Malaga walking tours here.

Best Time of the Year to Visit Malaga

I flew to and out of Malaga on my Andalusia road trip. The best time for visiting Malaga is spring and autumn.

If you want to see one of the loveliest cities in Europe, head to Málaga, Spain !

Where to Stay in Malaga

Palacio Solecio is the perfect,18th-century Andalusian palace, a 4-star hotel for travelers in search of a luxurious experience near Malaga’s historic city center.

Palacio Solecio hotel, Malaga Booking.com

The hotel boasts some rooms with terraces and views of the city, offering the perfect place to relax and take in the sights.

28. Milan, Italy

Contributed by Travel Tips for Venice

Best European Cities Milan

Located in the heart of northern Italy, Milan is one of the best European cities to visit for a weekend and an ideal base to explore the rest of Italy.

It is also easy to extend your visit as there are many wonderful places to visit near Milan . From here, you can reach Lake Como , Verona, and even Venice by train or by car.

Milan is a popular destination for shopping lovers and those who enjoy aperitivo which is the perfect time to try a classic Italian drink.

Milan Best European Cities

One of the best ways to immerse yourself in the local culture is to join this aperitivo tour in the Navigli area.

You can’t leave Milan without visiting the Milan Cathedral, the largest Gothic church in the world.

One of the best streets to visit is Via Paolo Sarpi, where you can find many brunch spots and delicious oriental cuisines. 

Here are some of our top recommended tours when in Milan:

  • Milan: Aperitivo Tour with Street Food – Experience the vibrant Milanese culture with a guided street food tour in Navigli. Savor aperitivo bites and sip on fine wine, cocktails, and beer for a unique Milan adventure. See a list of our favorite Milan food tours here.
  • Milan: Cathedral and Rooftop Ticket – By getting this entry ticket to the Cathedral, you’ll get access to the rooftop terraces and enjoy 360° views of Milan.

Best Time of the Year to Visit Milan

The best time to visit Milan is late spring and early autumn when temperatures are pleasant.

Avoid the hot and humid summers when most tourist crowds visit, and also the cold winters.

Where to Stay in Milan

Ostello Bello is one of the most incredible places to stay in Milan. It’s a hostel located in the heart of the city, close to the main attractions.

It features mixed and female dormitories but also double, triple, and quadruple rooms, so it’s perfect for all types of travelers.

Ostello Bello Milan Booking.com

Ostello Bello Milano is an amazing hostel located a mere 10-minute walk from Milan Cathedral and the picturesque Navigli district, making it the ideal accommodation for travelers visiting the city.

29. Amsterdam, Netherlands

Contributed by The Solo Globetrotter

Beautiful landscape with tulips and houses in Amsterdam

Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands is one of the most fun European cities to visit, whether you are with friends or family or your partner.

Known for the historic canals flanked by colorful ancient Dutch-style buildings, fabulous museums, excellent nightlife, and eateries serving delicious cuisines, Amsterdam is no wonder on everyone’s bucket list.

I had initially planned Amsterdam for only 2 days but ended up staying for a week as I got besotted with the beautiful old town and so many fun things to do.

Amsterdam River Boats The Solo Globe Trotter

Rent a bicycle and pedal through the cobbled-stone alleys of this lovely city. 

Explore Vondel Park, Jordaan, and other charming streets.

There are many fabulous day trips from Amsterdam you can plan, including a self-guided tour of Kinderdijk, an idyllic village famous for iconic 18th-century wooden windmills, or a day tour to nearby Rotterdam.

If you are a museum buff, explore the museum district, home to the world-renowned Rijksmuseum, the nearby Van Gogh Museum, and Stedelijk Museum.

Here are some of our top recommended tours when in Amsterdam:

  • Amsterdam: Evening Canal Cruise – Immerse yourself in the captivating atmosphere of Amsterdam with a mesmerizing sunset cruise. Be wowed by breathtaking bridges, charming canal houses, and the enchanting glow that illuminates the city.
  • Rijksmuseum Entrance Ticket – View over 400 masterpieces by renowned artists including Jan Steen, Frans Hals, and Rembrandt. Also, explore the exquisite dollhouses and silverware collection.

Best Time of the Year to Visit Amsterdam

Summer is the most popular and hence one of the most crowded months and most expensive as well.

Where to Stay in Amsterdam

Overlooking the lovely canals, near the Basilica of St. Nicholas, The Hendrick’s Hotel is close to several noted attractions, including Beurs van Berlage, Dutch National Opera & Ballet.

The Hendricks Hotel Amsterdam Booking.com

Plus Dam Square and The Central Station are just a 10-minute walk away!

30. Oslo, Norway

Contributed by Scotland Less Explored

Oslo Best European Cities

Oslo is the capital of Norway and has a great mix of history, art, and outdoor activities. 

In Oslo, you can see real Viking ships, explore modern architecture such as the Opera House, view Munch’s “The Scream” and then go skiing or explore the Oslo Fjord by boat. 

Oslo Opera House Norway

Visiting in summer or winter makes for two completely different experiences.

In summer imagine sitting at outdoor cafes or swimming. During the winter months, there is normally snow, and downhill and cross-country skiing tracks are easily accessible from the city center.

Here are some of our top recommended tours when in Oslo:

  • Oslo Nature Walks: Island Hopping Tour – Explore Oslo’s beautiful coastal scenery on a 4-hour island hopping tour. Visit 3 well-preserved islands with stunning views and historic sites.
  • Guided Oslo Fjord Cruise by Silent Electric Catamaran – Cruise in silence through the Oslo Fjord to enjoy the natural beauty and wildlife. Hear from a marine biologist and see beneath the water with an underwater drone.

Best Time of the Year to Visit Oslo

Being Norwegian and having grown up in Oslo I think the best time of year to visit is between May and September, or to experience winter and snow, visit between January and March. If you visit in the winter, be prepared for cold weather. It is not unusual for it to be -15 degrees Celsius.

Where to Stay in Oslo

Thon Hotel Rosenkrantz is the perfect place for travelers visiting Oslo. Enjoy new facilities with an eco-friendly approach to great hospitality.

Located a short walk away from the Oslo Bus Terminal, it’s perfectly central for anyone wanting to explore the city.

Thon Hotel Rosenkrantz Oslo Booking.com

With its cozy vibes and convenient location, you won’t regret it!

31. St Petersburg, Russia

Contributed by The Orange Backpack

 St. Petersburg Best European Cities

Saint Petersburg is undoubtedly one of the best cities to visit in Europe. This magical place captivates visitors with its pastel-colored palaces, endless canals, and charming streets.

You will be enchanted by the architectural wonders that line the city, making it a must-see destination. 

I combined my trip to Saint Petersburg with a visit to Moscow, as both cities are well-connected by train. We opted for a night train from Moscow to Saint Petersburg, which added an element of adventure to our journey.

St Petersburg Cathedral Best European Cities

Prepare yourself for an extraordinary adventure in Saint Petersburg, a city that seamlessly blends European elegance with Russian grandeur.

Here are some of our top recommended tours when in St Petersburg (these are not bookable at the moment):

  • One of the top attractions in Saint Petersburg is the magnificent Hermitage. This world-renowned museum is home to an immense art collection spread across multiple buildings.
  • The main museum, located in the stunning Winter Palace on the riverbank, is a testament to the ambition of the tsarinas of the Romanov dynasty. Be prepared to be awestruck by the grandeur and beauty that surrounds you.

Best Time of the Year to Visit St Petersburg

The best time to visit Saint Petersburg is during the summer months, particularly in June.

This is when the city experiences the “White Nights”, a period when the days are longest, the sun never fully sets, and the city comes alive with festivals and vibrant street life.

However, be prepared for shorter days and cold temperatures if you visit in winter, although the snowy landscapes create a romantic ambiance.

Where to Stay in St Petersburg

Right now, it’s impossible to book accommodation or tours in Russia from abroad due to the invasion of Ukraine.

When looking for a place to stay in Saint Petersburg , make sure you find a hotel in the city center and near the central Nevsky Prospect Street.

Wow Hotel offers an exceptional level of comfort and style. With its sleek design and modern amenities, it exudes the ambiance of a boutique hotel, all at an affordable price.

Located right on the prestigious Nevsky Prospect, it provides convenient access to the city’s main attractions.

32. Moscow, Russia

Contributed by Museum of Wander

Moscow Russia Museum of wander

Like the rest of Russia, Moscow is an enigma, and in that lies much of its allure.

As one of the great capitals of Europe, Moscow captivates visitors with its rich history, breathtaking architecture, world-class museums, and cultural attractions.

We expected visiting Moscow to be unaffordably expensive and challenging, with unfriendly locals and shabby neighborhoods.

Man, were we wrong!? Moscow offers exceptional value for money; the city is spotlessly clean and the people friendly.

Moscow is one of the best places to visit in Russia, so if you want to visit Russia, this is a great city to start with.

Centre of Moscow - Russia

Here are some of our top recommended tours when in Moscow (currently not available to book):

  • Visiting the iconic Red Square is a must. From the Red Square, you can visit St. Basil’s Cathedral, the Kremlin, Lenin’s mausoleum, and the GUM department store.
  • Public transportation might not be an obvious tourist attraction anywhere else in the world, but then there’s the Moscow metro or The Palace of the People. Moscow Metro is renowned for its stunning underground stations adorned with exquisite artwork, mosaics, crystal chandeliers, and marble fittings. Going on a Moscow Metro tour will make you question whether you’re visiting an art museum or a subway station.

Best Time of the Year to Visit Moscow

Moscow is freezing cold in winter and wet in spring. Best visit Moscow in summer for long sunny days or fall.

Where to Stay in Moscow

When that changes, we suggest staying near Tverskaya Street to easily access the metro and Moscow attractions.

33. Hamburg, Germany

Contributed by Buddy The Traveling Monkey

Hamburg Germany Buddy the Traveling Monkey

One of the best European cities to visit is Hamburg, Germany. Although it’s the second largest city in Germany, it is often overlooked. This means it has a lot less tourists.

Hamburg is also easy to get to, with its own international airport. Once you’re there, it is a very walkable city but also has a fantastic public transportation system.

Hamburg offers visitors a lot of unique attractions and experiences.

Hamburg Germany Best European Cities

Hamburg offers visitors a lot of unique attractions and experiences. You can explore the neighborhood of Speicherstadt.

If you’re a chocolate lover, visit the Chocoversum Chocolate Museum. It’s an interactive museum where you learn about chocolate and you get many free samples.

There are also five main churches in Hamburg . All of them are beautiful and free to enter.

Here are some of our top recommended tours when in Hamburg:

  • Speicherstadt, HafenCity & Elbphilharmonie Tour – Explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Speicherstadt, and Hamburg’s new landmark, the Elbphilharmonie, in the modern HafenCity.
  • 1.5-Hour Tour of the Chocoversum – Experience a sensory journey at Chocoversum in Hamburg. Follow cocoa beans from cultivation to chocolate bar and create your own chocolate during a 1.5-hour tour.

Best Time of the Year to Visit Hamburg

You can visit Hamburg at any time of the year, but we think the best time is during the winter holidays as it is one of the best European cities to visit in winter with kids .

We celebrated Christmas and New Year in Hamburg and absolutely loved it. The Christmas Markets and fireworks were some of the best we’ve seen.

Where to Stay in Hamburg

To stay, a great option is the Steigenberger Hotel Hamburg .

It’s in a great location; within walking distance of attractions and public transportation stations.

Steigenberger Hotel Hamburg Booking.com

The hotel also has free breakfast included in your stay!

34. Bruges, Belgium

Contributed by The Alternative Travel Guide

Bruges thealternativetravelguide

Bruges is a fabulous city in Belgium, like something out of a Hollywood movie about the Middle Ages.

The cobblestone streets and tidy canals that connect the squares are so perfect that it can be hard to get away from the camera.

The first place to see in Bruges is the colorful Grote Markt. For about seven centuries the Grote Markt in Bruges has been the center of the city and its main square.

You can still see the market pavilions, which gave it its name ‘Market Square’.

Canal in Bruges

Located around the square, beautiful historical buildings and colorful houses, souvenir stores, restaurants, and cafes will take you to another dimension.

After the market square, the best thing to do is to wander around the old town and admire its magnificent architecture. 

One of the unique places in Bruges is the Diamond Museum. The Diamond Museum has a huge number of exhibits that tell you about all the stages of diamond processing, from mining to cutting and polishing.

To this day, diamonds remain one of Belgium’s most important export products.

Thanks to its canals, Bruges is often referred to as the “Venice of the North” of Europe. You can’t leave Bruges if you haven’t taken a boat ride through its beautiful canals. 

During the Middle Ages, the city’s inhabitants turned the local Rie River into a network of canals that allowed merchants to bring their goods to the city by water.

Today, a boat ride along these famous waterways offers tourists a great opportunity to see some of the city’s most beautiful sites. 

Here are some of our top recommended tours when in Bruges:

  •   Walking Tour for Couples – Experience the romantic charm of Bruges with a local guide. Discover heritage sites, natural surroundings, local folklore, and the unique Diamond Museum. Stroll the historic streets, visit the oldest parish church, and learn traditional beer making.
  • Boat Cruise and Guided Walking Tour – Experience the best of both worlds with a guided walking and boat tour of Bruges, a medieval town recognized as a UNESCO world heritage site.

Best Time of the Year to Visit Bruges

The best time to visit Bruges is from April to October when the weather is pleasantly mild.

Where to Stay in Bruges

To enjoy the atmosphere of the city even more, you can stay in the Boat Hotel De Barge , a floating hotel on the Bruges-Ghent Canal. 

Located within easy reach of the famous sights of Bruges like the central Market Square and the Belfry of Bruges.

Onboard you can find a fine dining restaurant with a terrace and comfortable cabins fitted with free WiFi.

Boat Hotel De Barge Bruges Booking.com

Boat Hotel De Barge offers a unique experience for travelers visiting Bruges.

35. Seville, Spain

Contributed by Travel Choreography

Seville, Best European Cities

Seville is undeniably one of the finest European getaways. It also happens to be one of the best places to visit in Spain .

Enjoying a holiday under the Spanish sun, you’ll have the chance to be surrounded by some of the most enchanting architecture on the continent.

A mere 2 hours’ drive from the Mediterranean Sea and the boat to Tangier, the city showcases a unique fusion of culture that charms every traveler fortunate enough to visit.

Among the best things to do in the city, you’ll find the Real Alcazar , an exquisite Moorish palace that houses lush Andalusian Gardens, and the Barrio de Santa Cruz, a colorful and quaint neighborhood.

While you may recognize the former from a famous TV show, the latter is less widely known even though it is the most beautiful neighborhood in the city.

Seville, Spain at Spanish Square (Plaza de Espana).

Venturing down its winding streets, you’ll discover hidden plazas and charming courtyards.

Here are some of our top recommended tours when in Seville:

  • Cathedral, Alcazar and Giralda Guided Tour with Priority Tickets – Explore Seville’s top landmarks with a guide on a skip-the-line tour of the Cathedral, Alcázar, and the Giralda.
  • Alhambra Palace and Albaicin Tour from Seville- Explore Granada in a day with a tour from Seville. Enjoy skip-the-line access to Alhambra Palace and guided tours of Alcazaba, Nasrid Palace, and Generalife Gardens.
While many people rave about the Alhambra in Granada, my personal favorite day trip from Seville is to visit the ancient city of Cordoba, only a 40-minute train ride away. From its grand mosque-cathedral to the labyrinthine streets of its Jewish Quarter, Cordoba offers a magical experience, easily accessible from the capital of Andalusia.    

Best Time of the Year to Visit Seville

The best time of year to visit Seville is during the spring.

If you have the chance, come to the Feria de Abril to participate in these utmost Sevillian festivities and enjoy great tapas.

Where to Stay in Seville

Located in the heart of the city, the Joya Del Casco Boutique Hotel boasts the elegance expected of a 200-year-old building with the comfort of modern amenities such as a pool and a rooftop terrace.

The 200-year-old building boasts modern amenities such as a pool and a rooftop terrace, perfect for enjoying the views of the enchanting city below.

Joya Del Casco Boutique Seville Booking.com

Additionally, it is close to everything from Seville’s main monuments to hip restaurants and rooftop bars.

36. Zurich, Switzerland

Contributed by Continent Hop

Zurich Best European Cities

Zurich is the city where magical Swiss landscapes have witnessed pre-medieval history and stand today, soaking in the evolving art and culture.

When I visited Zurich, the charming cobblestone lanes of Old Town instantly stole a piece of my heart.

The combination of art museums like Kunsthaus, stunning churches like Fraumünster, luxury shopping boutiques, and cozy restaurants offering traditional Swiss cuisines is enough to keep you engaged for a day, it is definitely one of the best European cities to visit.

I am glad we booked the Mount Titlis Day Tour from Zurich as this well-planned trip helped us explore Lucerne. Being in the heart of the Swiss Alps will definitely be the highlight of your Zurich trip.

Zurich City

You can plan a day trip from Zurich to Liechtenstein as it will give you a chance to visit an entirely new country in only 24 hours.

And if you want to see other beautiful cities in town in Switzerland, we recommend you check out our 7-day Switzerland summer itinerary that starts in Zurich.

Here are some of our top recommended tours when in Zurich:

  • Bus Day Trip to Heidiland and Liechtenstein – Take a day trip from Zurich to see Switzerland’s Alpine beauty and visit Liechtenstein. Stop in Rapperswil, Vaduz, cross Ricken Pass, and explore Maienfeld.
  • National Museum Zurich Tours and Tickets – Visit the National Museum Zurich and save time by purchasing tickets online or getting the Swiss Travel Pass.

Best Time of the Year to Visit Zurich

The summer months of June to August are the best time to visit Zurich. The days and long and sunny whereas evenings experience pleasant cool weather.

As this is the peak tourist season in Zurich, the city is expensive and crowded during summer.

Where to Stay in Zurich

I stayed at Small Luxury Hotel Ambassador Zurich as it is located in the heart of the city.

Small Luxury Hotel Ambassador Zurich Booking.com

Next to the opera house and to Lake Zurich, this is also only a few minutes away from the famous shopping street Bahnhofstrasse.

37. Stockholm, Sweden

Contributed by UK Every Day

Stockholm Best European Cities

Stockholm’s abundance of modern and old buildings, beautiful subway art, and easy access to nearby islands makes it an ideal destination to visit in Europe.

Some of the best things to do in Stockholm include SkyView Glass Gondola Ride and a visit to Paradox Museum.

Once you cross Nya Lidingöbron bridge, you can get to Ropsten metro station and start exploring Stockholm by using public transport.

The colorful Stockholm underground is an attraction on its own and cannot be missed!

Stockholm Metro

And lastly, you can’t go to Stockholm and not head out on a boat tour! One of the best Stockholm boat tours is the Archipelago Sightseeing Cruise with Guide .

Here are some of our top recommended tours when in Stockholm:

  • SkyView Glass Gondola Ride – Ride a glass gondola outside the Ericsson Globe, the world’s largest spherical building in Stockholm, and enjoy the breathtaking view of the city from 130 meters high.
  • Paradox Museum – Visit the family-friendly Paradox Museum Stockholm to experience 70 interactive exhibits based on paradoxes and optical illusions.

Best Time of the Year to Visit Stockholm

The best time to visit Stockholm is between May and August with the longest hours of sunshine.

However, if you are worried about the rain, the least rainfalls are between February and March.

Where to Stay in Stockholm

We stayed in Lidingo, which is only a 15-minute drive from the city center of Stockholm.

One of the best places to stay in Stockholm is Radisson Blu Waterfront Hotel .

It is within a short walk from many attractions such as Stockholm City Hall, Nobel Prize Museum, or The Royal Palace.

Moreover, T-Centralen underground station is just a stone’s throw away so getting to many other places in the city will be super easy.

Radisson Blu Waterfront Hotel, Stockholm Booking.com

On top of it all, the hotel has been certified as an environmentally friendly hotel, making sure that your vacation is both enjoyable and responsible!

FAQs About The Most Beautiful European Cities

Here are some answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about the most beautiful European cities to visit.

There is no definitive answer as the perception of beauty varies, but cities like Paris, Venice, and Prague are often considered among the most beautiful in Europe.

London is the most visited city in Europe, with 19.6 million annual visitors. Following a close-up, Paris receives 19.1 million visitors yearly, deemed a very popular city retreat for couples. Istanbul is very popular in the summer months, boasting 14 + million visitors annually.

Passionate about fashion? Look no further than Paris – the fashion capital of Europe! It’s where renowned luxury brands like Christian Dior, Chanel, Hermès, Lanvin, and Louis Vuitton originated, adding to its rich history and high-end fashion traditions. However, Milan and London follow closely and are considered to be Europe’s big fashion capitals!

Zurich is one of the quietest cities in Europe yet it still has plenty of activities and nightlife to explore.

Amsterdam has so much to offer everyone, from countless museums, infamous coffee shops, its beautiful architecture, and canal trips. It is definitely worth a visit.

Final Thoughts: Best Cities in Europe to Visit

Ending with a bang, the best cities in Europe to visit have been carefully chosen after we asked thirty travel bloggers which cities are worthy of being on this list.

All 37 European cities on our list are full of unique histories and cultures for visitors to explore.

From beautiful Prague in the Czech Republic to the ancient city of Athens, our list has something for everyone!

So if you’re looking for your next destination, why not make it one of these amazing places?

More Articles to Help You Plan Your Trip to Europe:

  • Find the best places to visit in Europe with kids
  • Check out our weekend trips in Europe if you fancy a quick getaway!

37 Best European Cities to Visit

Jolene Ejmont

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London is best city in Europe

Ranked: 100 best cities to visit in Europe 2024

A bridge and Big Ben in London, the best city in Europe

From the “capital of capitals” to the “Venice of the North”, these are the 100 best cities to visit in Europe in 2024

In 2015, a study from the European Commission found that 72% of the EU’s population lived in cities with the majority of Europeans concentrated in cities with populations between 250,000 and 5 million.

In 2018, another study suggested that by the time this century is complete, the world’s population will be 80% urbanised with Europe at the forefront of this change with around 90% of its population urbanised. Belgium already has an urbanised population of 98% with Malta (95%) and the Netherlands (93%) not far behind.

Wherever the world’s expats , digital nomads and remote workers choose to relocate, chances are it will be in a city. With this in mind, Canadian consultancy film Resonance , which has offices in Vancouver, Montreal, Singapore and New York, has published a new report ranking the 100 best cities in Europe with populations of more than 500,000.

How does the ranking work?

How to stay connected in europe’s cities.

  • What is Europe’s best city?

Other winning cities

100 best cities to visit in europe – complete ranking.

Contrary to similar ‘best-of’ lists, the index assesses a city’s culture, diversity, prosperity, infrastructure and employment opportunities.

The skyline of Barcelona, one of the best cities to visit in Europe

They use 25 factors grouped into six categories covering a range of criteria including climate, access to outdoor space, education and work prospects, population diversity, leisure options and even social media popularity.

The six categories and 25 factors are:

  • Place: weather, safety, sights & landmarks, outdoors
  • Product: airport connectivity, attractions, museums, university ranking, convention centre
  • People: labour force participation, educational attainment
  • Prosperity: global 500 number, GDP per capita, income equality, employment rate
  • Programming: culture, nightlife, dining, shopping
  • Promotion: Facebook check-ins, Google search, TripAdvisor reviews, Instagram hashtags, Google Trends

Roaming charges can be high in Europe so the best way to stay connected when travelling is to use an eSIM : a virtual SIM card. It is much cheaper than using the data roaming options provided by the major networks, pay-as-you-go physical SIM cards or wifi hotspot devices. An eSIM is also far more convenient.

An eSIM works remotely, meaning you don’t have to remove your current SIM card so there’s no risk of misplacing or damaging it or losing your number. eSIMs are pre-installed on the majority of devices now and can be activated just by installing an ‘eSIM profile’ of a new provider.

The best eSIM for travel in Europe is Holafly . We’ve used several providers over the years as well as pay-as-you-go SIM cards and wifi hotspots. Having used Holafly eSIMs in Europe as well as further afield in Mexico and Panama , we have now settled on them as our eSIM partner. They also come highly rated on Trustpilot .

A woman takes a photo on her phone in Paris, one of the best cities to visit in Europe

Holafly covers 170 destinations worldwide (with unlimited data available in 122 countries) and offers several eSIM  data packages for Europe  covering over 30 countries including popular destinations such as France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland and Turkey across a range of networks including 3G, 4G and 5G.

We can offer our readers 5% off on Holafly purchases with this coupon: ATLASANDBOOTS

All packages come with unlimited data in Europe plus 60 minutes for making and receiving calls.

  • Unlimited data, 5 days: €19
  • Unlimited data, 7 days: €27
  • Unlimited data, 10 days: €34
  • Unlimited data, 15 days: €47
  • Unlimited data, 20 days: €57
  • Unlimited data, 30 days: €69
  • Unlimited data, 60 days: €87
  • Unlimited data, 90 days: €99

What is the best city to visit in Europe?

The study named London the best city in Europe. The ‘capital of capitals’ has taken the top spot despite concerns surrounding the city’s post-Brexit future . However, the report’s authors believe the city continues to draw talent and visitors en masse and will eventually weather the storm and even emerge stronger.

Light trails around a phone box during a long-exposure of London at night

The UK capital scored highly in the programming , promotion , product and prosperity categories but was some way behind in the place category. Transport links remain excellent, especially with the opening of the new Elizabeth Line connecting London’s main airport, Heathrow, to the suburbs on the other side of the metropolis.

“As the ‘capital of capitals’ (both in Europe and globally) deftly negotiates the uncharted, perilous terrain of a post-Brexit and pandemic world, London reigns as Europe’s best city.” – World’s Best Cities, Resonance

Tourists continue to visit London in their masses with the city ranked third in the world and first in Europe in terms of cities with the biggest international traveller spend. In 2022, $16.07 billion was spent by travellers in London, only slightly less than second-placed Doha ($16.79 billion) while Dubai was the runaway winner with $29.42 billion.

Despite a looming recession and falling house prices across the rest of the country, London’s luxury homes are defying the country’s economic slowdown and wider slump in house prices.

An artist's impression of the Camden Highline in London

Finally, pedestrians are excited by the 2025 opening of the Camden Highline , a 1.2km greenway just north of Central London. Described as a ‘Manhattan makeover for London,’ it is hoped that the transformation of a disused train track will revitalise the UK capital like it did in New York.

The usual suspects of Paris, Berlin, Rome and Madrid closely follow London. Paris remains a strong contender thanks to its ambitious sustainability policies which have included expanding cycle routes, reducing city speed limits and tree planting as it aims to become Europe’s greenest city by 2030 .

A view of the Eiffel Tower from across the rooftops of Paris

“Cities are the engines of the global economy and the badges of human ingenuity. Yes, they’ve been hobbled over the past 18 months, exposing the long-ignored foundational and institutional problems that manifested on their streets and in their hospitals and seniors homes. But they’re also leading — like they always have — the recovery and future-defining next stage of human innovation.” – World’s Best Cities, Resonance

Berlin has moved into third place in the ranking and won heavy praise for “welcoming waves of Ukrainians fleeing Russia’s invasion” as well as its cultural assets which include vibrant nightlife, cutting-edge architecture and fascinating museums. In 2024, the city will host several matches of the Euro 24 football tournament including the final at the Olympiastadion.

Rome is one of the world’s most romantic cities brimming with millennia of history but it was also commended for its underrated parks and greenways and its hospitality sector.

The Colosseum in Rome

Madrid moved above its archrival Barcelona for the first time thanks to its sustainability-driven investment while Prague in sixth, won praise for unrolling a series of resident-first policies in an attempt to battle the overtourism the city has seen of late.

Barcelona, the capital of Spain’s autonomous community of Catalonia , is Europe’s seventh-best city. The city performed well in the nightlife category but also won praise for its commitment to traffic calming and creating community space. Ada Colau, the mayor of Barcelona, has introduced several schemes as part of her superblock initiative as well as added over 100 miles of bike lanes.

In eighth place is Amsterdam, a European stalwart regularly rated among the world’s greenest cities . The city is often referred to as the “Venice of the North” due to its large number of UNESCO-listed canals . Amsterdam has won praise for its commitment to reforming the red-light district. Green mayor Femke Halsema plans to overhaul the area which can often find itself at the centre of out-of-control nightlife. Plans include increasing the size of the district to deal with overcrowding and outlawing cannabis smoking on the street.

A canal scene in Amsterdam – one of the best cities to visit in Europe

It will be a tricky manoeuvre as the city remains popular among tourists – fifth in the world and second in Europe in terms of cities with the biggest international traveller spend – and they don’t all come for the museums and shopping.

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The 25 Best Cities To Visit In Europe [Interactive Map]

Looking for the best cities to visit in Europe? Our map ranks the best places to visit based on activities, cost, and accessibility.

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Are you dreaming of jet-setting across Europe and exploring all the amazing cities it has to offer? From scenic beaches in Barcelona to timeless architectural beauty in Rome, planning a European vacation can be quite an adventure. Whether you’re looking to dive into the culture and take advantage of world-class shopping, or find yourself sightseeing through some of the most incredible cities on earth, this list of 25 best cities in Europe will provide almost any traveler with plenty of possibilities for their journey ahead!

25 Best Cities To Visit In Europe

Paris, france.

Paris, France, affectionately known as "The City of Light," consistently ranks as one of the top cities to visit in Europe, and for good reasons. Its iconic attractions such as the Eiffel Tower, Louvre Museum, and Notre-Dame Cathedral offer both historical significance and aesthetic beauty, appealing to history buffs and art lovers alike. With its world-renowned cuisine and shopping, Paris caters to both gourmet enthusiasts and fashion-forward visitors. The city's extensive public transportation system makes local travel convenient, and its key international airports provide easy access for Americans. Paris has a temperate climate, but the best time to visit is spring (April to June) or fall (September to November), when the weather is mild, and the city is less crowded. The cost of visiting can vary, but there are options to suit different budgets. Paris is known for its romantic allure, making it an ideal destination for couples, but with attractions like Disneyland Paris and numerous parks and museums, it's also highly suitable for families. Whether seeking romance, culture, or family-friendly fun, Paris offers a quintessentially European experience that's hard to match, which is why it tops our list of best European cities to visit.

Top 3 Attractions:

  • Eiffel Tower
  • Louvre Museum
  • Notre-Dame Cathedral

Estimated Cost for a Week-long Stay:

  • $1,500 - $2,000

Best Time of Year to Visit:

  • Spring (April to June) or Fall (September to November)

London, the vibrant capital of the United Kingdom, offers an eclectic blend of history, culture, and modernity, making it one of the top destinations in Europe. Visitors can explore iconic landmarks such as Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London, and the British Museum, each rich in history and significance. The city's extensive public transportation, including the famed Underground, makes local travel convenient, and its major airports like Heathrow provide excellent accessibility for Americans through numerous direct flights. Though London can be on the expensive side, it offers a range of accommodation and dining options to suit various budgets. The weather in London can be unpredictable, but the best time to visit is during the late spring and early autumn when it's milder. London's diverse attractions appeal to a wide range of visitors: history buffs will revel in its storied past, families can enjoy parks and interactive museums, while shoppers and theater-goers will find endless entertainment. Whether you're seeking a cultural immersion, family fun, or a cosmopolitan experience, London caters to all.

  • Buckingham Palace
  • Tower of London
  • British Museum
  • $1,600 - $2,200
  • Late Spring (May to June) or Early Autumn (September to October)

Rome, Italy

Rome, Italy, often referred to as the "Eternal City," is a treasure trove of history, culture, and cuisine, making it a popular European destination for Americans. Its breathtaking historical sites like the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Vatican City immerse visitors in ancient civilization and Renaissance art. Rome's accessibility is facilitated by its two major international airports and well-connected train system, providing seamless travel for Americans. Local travel is manageable with public buses, trams, and a metro system. The cost of visiting can be moderate to high, but with careful planning, it's possible to find affordable accommodation and dining options. The Mediterranean climate ensures hot summers and mild winters, but the best time to visit would be in spring (April to June) or fall (September to November) when the weather is pleasant and the crowds are thinner. Rome's extensive offerings make it ideal for history enthusiasts, art lovers, families, and food aficionados. Whether exploring ancient ruins or indulging in authentic Italian cuisine, Rome offers an enriching and unforgettable experience.

  • Vatican Museums (including the Sistine Chapel)
  • Trevi Fountain
  • $1,500 - $2,500

Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona, Spain, is a dazzling fusion of art, architecture, and lively ambiance, cementing its place as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. Known for its unique Modernist architecture, sites like Gaudí's Sagrada Família and Park Güell stand as artistic marvels. The city's rich history is reflected in the Gothic Quarter and the Picasso Museum. Barcelona is well-served by its international airport and high-speed trains, making it accessible for Americans, and local travel is facilitated by a robust metro and bus system. The cost of visiting can be moderate, with various options for accommodation and dining. With its Mediterranean climate, Barcelona offers warm summers and mild winters, but spring and autumn provide the most pleasant temperatures for exploration. Barcelona's energetic nightlife, stunning beaches, and family-friendly attractions such as the Barcelona Aquarium make it suitable for party-goers, beach lovers, families, and culture enthusiasts alike. From strolling down La Rambla to enjoying tapas at a local bar, Barcelona's charm is irresistible.

  • Sagrada Família
  • $1,400 - $2,300
  • Spring (April to June) or Autumn (September to October)

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam, Netherlands, with its intricate canal system, vibrant culture, and rich history, is one of Europe's most popular cities. Its renowned museums such as the Van Gogh Museum and Rijksmuseum offer art lovers a chance to explore Dutch art, while the Anne Frank House provides a sobering historical perspective. Accessibility for Americans is convenient with direct flights to Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport, one of Europe's main travel hubs. The city's tram system, bikes, and walking paths make local travel a breeze. Though known for being somewhat expensive, Amsterdam offers a range of accommodation and dining options to fit various budgets. The weather can be chilly and rainy, but visiting in late spring to early fall ensures milder temperatures and more sunshine. Amsterdam's diverse attractions suit a wide array of travelers, from families enjoying Vondelpark to those seeking adventure in the bustling nightlife. Whether you're cruising the canals or exploring the tulip fields, Amsterdam promises a unique and rewarding experience.

  • Van Gogh Museum
  • Anne Frank House
  • Canal Cruise
  • $1,500 - $2,400
  • Late Spring (May to June) or Early Autumn (September)

Prague, Czech Republic

Prague, Czech Republic, often referred to as the "City of a Hundred Spires," is a stunning destination that marries medieval charm with modern vitality. Its iconic attractions like Prague Castle, Charles Bridge, and the Astronomical Clock offer a journey back in time. In terms of cost, Prague is known for being more budget-friendly than many other Western European cities, without sacrificing quality in dining or accommodation, so if you are looking for a budget-friendly destination, it is one of the best cities to visit. Its international airport and rail connections make travel to Prague relatively straightforward for Americans, and the city's public transportation system is both affordable and efficient. Weather-wise, Prague experiences cold winters and warm summers, but visiting in late spring (May) or early fall (September) provides the most comfortable climate for sightseeing. The city appeals to various types of travelers, from families enjoying leisurely strolls through Old Town to adventure seekers exploring Prague's vibrant nightlife. Whether indulging in traditional Czech cuisine or taking a scenic river cruise, Prague offers a rich, fulfilling experience.

  • Prague Castle
  • Charles Bridge
  • Old Town Square with the Astronomical Clock
  • $1,200 - $1,800
  • Late Spring (May) or Early Autumn (September)

Vienna, Austria

Vienna, Austria, is a captivating blend of imperial tradition and contemporary vibrancy, making it one of the most attractive cities in Europe to visit. Known for its classical music heritage, visitors can indulge in concerts at the renowned Vienna State Opera or explore the homes of composers like Mozart and Beethoven. The magnificent Schönbrunn Palace and the Belvedere Museum showcase the city's rich history and art. Vienna's international airport facilitates easy access for Americans, and the city's excellent public transport system ensures convenient local travel. Cost-wise, Vienna offers a range of options from luxury to budget-friendly accommodations and dining. The city experiences cold winters and warm summers, with late spring (May) and early fall (September) being the ideal times to visit for pleasant weather. Vienna's charm extends to families exploring interactive museums, couples enjoying romantic carriage rides, and art enthusiasts immersed in its cultural offerings. From savoring the famous Sachertorte to strolling through elegant gardens, Vienna offers a refined and delightful experience.

  • Schönbrunn Palace
  • Vienna State Opera
  • Belvedere Museum
  • $1,400 - $2,100

Berlin, Germany

Berlin, Germany, stands as a vibrant hub of history, culture, and innovation, offering an intriguing blend of the old and the new. Historical sites like the Berlin Wall, Brandenburg Gate, and Checkpoint Charlie narrate a compelling past, while contemporary art galleries and cutting-edge architecture project a forward-thinking spirit. Accessibility for Americans is convenient, with direct flights to Berlin's airports and an efficient public transport system that includes buses, trams, and U-Bahn. Cost-wise, Berlin is relatively affordable, offering a range of options for accommodation and dining that cater to different budgets. The weather in Berlin includes cold winters and warm summers, with May to September being the best months to visit for pleasant temperatures. Whether it's families exploring interactive museums like the Deutsches Technikmuseum, history buffs tracing the Cold War era, or party-goers diving into Berlin's renowned nightlife, the city has something to cater to every taste. From culinary delights to sprawling parks, Berlin's unique allure makes it a must-visit destination in Europe.

  • Brandenburg Gate
  • Berlin Wall Memorial
  • Museum Island
  • $1,300 - $2,000
  • Late Spring to Early Autumn (May to September)

Dublin, Ireland

Dublin, Ireland, a city steeped in history and brimming with lively culture, is one of Europe's most welcoming destinations. Famous for its literary tradition, attractions like the Book of Kells at Trinity College and the Dublin Writers Museum pay homage to its literary giants. The historical sites, such as Dublin Castle and Kilmainham Gaol, offer insights into Ireland's complex past. Accessibility for Americans is straightforward, with direct flights to Dublin's international airport and an extensive local transport network. While the cost of visiting can be on the higher side, various accommodation and dining options are available. Dublin's weather is known for being unpredictable, but visiting from May to September offers milder temperatures and a chance to enjoy outdoor festivals. The city appeals to a wide range of visitors, including families exploring interactive museums, history enthusiasts, and those looking to enjoy the convivial atmosphere of its famous pubs. Whether partaking in a traditional Irish music session or wandering through its historic streets, Dublin provides an enriching and joyful experience.

  • Trinity College Library (Book of Kells)
  • Dublin Castle
  • Temple Bar (for its cultural quarter and nightlife)
  • $1,500 - $2,300

Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh, Scotland, is a city of contrasts, offering a captivating mix of ancient history and modern vibrancy. Its dramatic setting, with the iconic Edinburgh Castle overlooking the city, provides a breathtaking backdrop for exploration. The Royal Mile, stretching from the castle to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, is a walk through history itself. The city's festivals, especially the world-famous Edinburgh Festival Fringe, draw visitors from all over the globe. Accessibility for Americans is facilitated through Edinburgh's international airport, and the city's public transport is comprehensive and user-friendly. While the cost of a stay can vary, there are options to suit different budgets. Weather-wise, Edinburgh can be chilly, and the best time to visit is during the summer months of June to August, although the city has charms in every season. Ideal for history buffs, culture enthusiasts, and families who want to explore historic sites and interactive museums, Edinburgh offers a unique and enriching experience that resonates with a wide audience.

  • Edinburgh Castle
  • The Royal Mile
  • Arthur's Seat (for panoramic views of the city)
  • Summer (June to August) or during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe (August)

Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon, Portugal, with its stunning coastal setting and rich cultural heritage, is a city that appeals to a diverse range of travelers. The blend of traditional Fado music, historic neighborhoods like Alfama, and innovative culinary scene creates a unique atmosphere. Lisbon's accessibility for Americans is good, with direct flights from various U.S. cities and convenient local transportation options, including the charming trams. In terms of cost, Lisbon is often considered more affordable than many other Western European cities, offering excellent value for money. Weather-wise, Lisbon enjoys a mild climate, with warm summers and gentle winters; spring and autumn are particularly pleasant for sightseeing. The city appeals to history lovers, food enthusiasts, families, and those seeking a romantic coastal getaway. Whether exploring the UNESCO-listed Jerónimos Monastery, tasting delectable pastéis de nata, or enjoying views from São Jorge Castle, Lisbon's laid-back charm and vibrant culture make it a must-visit destination.

  • Jerónimos Monastery
  • São Jorge Castle
  • Belém Tower
  • Spring (April to June) and Autumn (September to October)

Madrid, Spain

Madrid, the capital of Spain, stands as a vibrant hub of culture, history, and art. Renowned for its world-class museums such as the Prado, Reina Sofia, and Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid offers an unparalleled artistic experience. The city is steeped in history, with sites like the Royal Palace providing a glimpse into Spain's rich past. Accessibility for Americans is excellent, as Madrid's international airport serves as a major hub for flights between the U.S. and Europe. The ease of access and rich history make it one of the most visited cities in Europe. Local travel is facilitated by an efficient metro system. Cost-wise, Madrid provides a range of accommodation and dining options to suit various budgets. The weather is characterized by hot summers and mild winters, with spring and fall offering the most pleasant temperatures. Whether you're a family exploring Retiro Park, a history aficionado, a food lover diving into the tapas culture, or an art enthusiast, Madrid has something to offer. Its lively street life and blend of traditional and modern culture make it one of the best places to visit in Spain.

  • The Prado Museum
  • The Royal Palace
  • Retiro Park
  • $1,400 - $2,200
  • Spring (March to May) and Autumn (September to November)

Munich, Germany

Munich, Germany, situated in the heart of Bavaria, is a captivating city that artfully balances traditional heritage with modern sophistication. Known globally for Oktoberfest, its beer halls, and vibrant festivals, Munich also boasts a rich cultural scene, filled with top-tier museums, theaters, and historical sites such as the Residenz and Nymphenburg Palace. Munich’s international airport is one of Europe's major hubs, making travel from the U.S. seamless. Additionally, the local public transportation is exceptionally efficient. While the cost can be on the higher side, there are options to fit various budgets. The weather is pleasant during spring and autumn, offering an opportunity to explore gardens like the Englischer Garten and enjoy outdoor dining. Families, cultural enthusiasts, and adventure seekers, all find Munich appealing, with nearby Alpine excursions and family-friendly museums. Whether you're engaging in the lively beer culture or exploring historic neighborhoods, Munich offers a rich and rewarding travel experience.

  • Marienplatz (central square with historic buildings and Glockenspiel)
  • Nymphenburg Palace
  • The BMW Museum
  • $1,500 - $2,500, depending on accommodation and dining choices
  • Spring (April to June) and Autumn (September to October), but late September and early October if you want to experience Oktoberfest.

Budapest, Hungary

Budapest, Hungary, often referred to as the "Paris of the East," is a city that seamlessly blends history and modernity. Renowned for its stunning architecture, including Gothic, Baroque, and Romanesque styles, Budapest's beauty is visible in every corner of the city. From the majestic Buda Castle to the intricate Hungarian Parliament Building, the historical richness of the city is palpable. Budapest is also home to numerous thermal baths, offering relaxation and an experience that is uniquely Hungarian. Accessibility from the U.S. is quite good, with many international flights and a well-connected public transportation system within the city. Compared to many Western European cities, Budapest is more budget-friendly, making it an appealing destination for various types of travelers. With mild spring and fall weather, the city is ideal for walking tours and outdoor exploration. Whether you're a history buff, spa enthusiast, or a family looking for unique cultural experiences, Budapest offers something special for everyone.

  • Buda Castle
  • Hungarian Parliament Building
  • Széchenyi Thermal Bath
  • $1,000 - $2,000, depending on the choice of accommodation and activities
  • Spring (April to June) and Fall (September to October) for the most pleasant weather and opportunity to enjoy both indoor and outdoor attractions.

Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul, Turkey, a city where East meets West, is a melting pot of cultures that makes it a fascinating destination for travelers. Its unique geographical position straddling two continents, Europe and Asia, offers visitors an incredibly rich history that dates back to ancient times. The city's blend of Byzantine, Ottoman, and modern Turkish influences can be seen in its architecture, cuisine, and daily life. Popular attractions such as the Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, and the Grand Bazaar are must-visit sites. The cost of travel in Istanbul is relatively moderate, offering a range of accommodations and dining options that can suit various budgets. The city is well-connected to major airports in the U.S., and local travel is made easy with trams, ferries, and taxis. The best time to visit is during spring and fall when the weather is mild and the crowds are thinner. Istanbul offers a rich experience for history enthusiasts, food lovers, shoppers, and adventure seekers, making it suitable for families and individuals alike.

  • Hagia Sophia
  • Topkapi Palace
  • Grand Bazaar
  • $1,200 - $2,500, depending on accommodation, activities, and dining preferences
  • Spring (April to June) and Fall (September to November) for comfortable temperatures, fewer tourists, and the ability to explore both the cultural and natural beauty of the city.

Athens, Greece

Athens, Greece is a city that captivates the hearts of history enthusiasts and culture lovers. As the birthplace of democracy and Western civilization, Athens offers a plethora of historical sites including the iconic Acropolis, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, and the ancient Agora. Its rich archaeological heritage and vibrant contemporary arts scene blend seamlessly, reflecting the city's deep-rooted history and modern spirit. Cost-wise, Athens offers options ranging from budget-friendly accommodations and eateries to luxurious hotels and fine dining. Its international airport is well-connected with major U.S. cities, and the local metro system makes navigating the city convenient. The weather is favorable for travel most of the year, but spring and fall are particularly appealing for their mild temperatures and reduced crowds. Whether you're a family seeking to educate and entertain or an adventure seeker looking to explore the city's hidden gems, Athens has something for everyone.

  • The Acropolis
  • The Ancient Agora
  • The National Archaeological Museum
  • $1,400 - $3,000, depending on accommodation, dining, and activities
  • Spring (March to May) and Fall (September to November), as these seasons offer pleasant weather, fewer tourists, and the opportunity to engage with both the historical and vibrant modern life of Athens.

Florence, Italy

Florence, Italy, is often considered the cradle of the Renaissance, and it's a must-visit city for art lovers, historians, and cultural enthusiasts alike. Renowned for its abundance of world-class art museums, stunning architecture, and historical landmarks such as the Florence Cathedral, Uffizi Gallery, and Ponte Vecchio, the city offers a rich cultural experience. Cost can vary widely, with options for both budget travelers and those seeking luxury. Florence enjoys a temperate climate, though summers can be hot, and the weather is generally best in the spring and fall. Its international airport and railway connections make it easily accessible from the U.S., and the city's compact nature ensures that local travel is convenient, often on foot. Whether it's a family looking to immerse in history, a couple seeking a romantic getaway, or an individual in search of artistic inspiration, Florence caters to a wide range of travelers.

  • Uffizi Gallery
  • Florence Cathedral (Il Duomo di Firenze)
  • Ponte Vecchio
  • $1,500 - $3,500, depending on accommodation, dining preferences, and museum entrance fees
  • Spring (April to June) and Fall (September to October), for pleasant weather, fewer crowds, and the opportunity to explore the city's myriad cultural attractions in comfort.

Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen, Denmark, is a vibrant and sophisticated city that effortlessly combines historical charm with modern innovation. Famous attractions such as the colorful Nyhavn harbor, the Little Mermaid statue, and Tivoli Gardens amusement park captivate visitors. Its rich history is preserved in the royal palaces, museums, and architecture that characterize the city. Copenhagen can be on the pricier side, but offers a wide range of options for accommodation and dining. The weather is typically mild, with the best time to visit during the late spring to early fall when the days are long and temperatures are comfortable. The city's international airport is a major hub, making flights from the U.S. relatively easy, and local travel is convenient thanks to efficient public transportation. Copenhagen is perfect for families, with many child-friendly attractions, as well as for couples, food enthusiasts, and design lovers seeking a chic urban experience.

  • Tivoli Gardens
  • The Little Mermaid
  • $2,500 - $4,000, depending on accommodation, dining preferences, and activities
  • Late spring to early fall (May to September), when the weather is mild, and the city's parks, waterfront, and outdoor cafes can be fully enjoyed.

Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm, Sweden, is often referred to as the "Venice of the North" due to its beautiful interplay of land and water across 14 islands. This capital city offers a harmonious blend of history, culture, and modernity. The Gamla Stan, Stockholm's historic Old Town, boasts charming narrow streets and well-preserved architecture. Stockholm is known for its stylish design, museums, and galleries, including the renowned Vasa Museum and ABBA Museum. The city can be somewhat expensive, but there are options for various budgets. Weather-wise, the summer months offer long days and mild temperatures, while the winters are cold and dark but uniquely beautiful. International travel from the U.S. is straightforward, with direct flights available, and local travel is made easy with efficient public transportation. Stockholm is a destination that appeals to families, culture enthusiasts, history buffs, and those interested in Scandinavian design and lifestyle.

  • Vasa Museum
  • Gamla Stan (Old Town)
  • Skansen Open-Air Museum
  • $2,000 - $3,500, including accommodation, meals, and attractions
  • Late spring to early autumn (May to September) for warm weather and outdoor activities; December for traditional Christmas markets and winter ambiance.

Brussels, Belgium

Brussels, Belgium's vibrant capital, is a city that combines historic grandeur with a modern and cosmopolitan flair. The city is famed for its beautiful squares, notably the Grand Place, a UNESCO World Heritage site surrounded by ornate guildhalls and the Gothic-style Town Hall. The city's comic strip murals, the Magritte Museum, and the Atomium offer something unique for every traveler. Brussels is home to the European Union headquarters, making it a hub for politics, business, and international relations. Cuisine is another strong point, with Belgian chocolate, waffles, and beer being renowned worldwide. The cost of visiting is moderate, with options suitable for various budgets. Traveling to and around Brussels is convenient, with direct flights from the U.S. and an extensive public transportation system. The weather is temperate, with mild summers and cool, damp winters. Brussels can be enjoyed by history enthusiasts, food lovers, families, and those interested in European politics.

  • Grand Place
  • Magritte Museum
  • $1,800 - $3,000, including accommodation, meals, and attractions
  • Late spring to early autumn (April to September) for outdoor sightseeing; December for Christmas markets and festive atmosphere.

Zurich, Switzerland

Zurich, Switzerland, with its captivating blend of traditional charm and urban chic, is one of the top cities in Europe for travelers. Set against the backdrop of the Alps, it's a city that's renowned for its financial institutions but also boasts a rich cultural scene. Museums like the Kunsthaus Zurich host impressive art collections, and the historic Old Town (Altstadt) invites exploration of its narrow, winding streets and medieval buildings. Zurich is known for being expensive, but the quality of service, especially in dining and accommodation, is top-notch. The city's efficient public transportation system makes local travel a breeze, and Zurich Airport is a major hub with frequent flights from the U.S. Weather-wise, Zurich has cold, snowy winters that are perfect for nearby skiing, and mild summers ideal for outdoor activities. The destination is perfect for families, art lovers, adventure seekers (due to proximity to the Alps), and those interested in finance and global economics.

  • Kunsthaus Zurich
  • Old Town (Altstadt)
  • Lake Zurich
  • $2,500 - $4,000, including accommodation, meals, and attractions (Switzerland is known for its higher cost of living)
  • Summer (June to August) for outdoor activities and lake enjoyment; winter (December to February) for winter sports enthusiasts and magical Christmas markets.

Krakow, Poland

Krakow, Poland, is a hidden gem in Europe, attracting travelers with its blend of rich history, striking architecture, and vibrant local culture. As Poland's former royal capital, Krakow is home to a stunning medieval core, including the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Old Town, with its cloth hall and St. Mary's Basilica. The city's proximity to Auschwitz and the Wieliczka Salt Mine adds to the historical appeal. Krakow offers a relatively low-cost travel experience compared to many other European cities, and the food, particularly local Polish cuisine, is both delicious and affordable. Krakow's airport has connections to major hubs, facilitating international travel, while the city's public transportation system is easy to navigate. The weather varies, with cold winters and warm summers, but spring and autumn offer mild and pleasant conditions. The city is an excellent destination for families, history buffs, and food lovers.

  • Wawel Castle
  • Old Town (including St. Mary's Basilica)
  • Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum or Wieliczka Salt Mine
  • $1,000 - $2,000, including accommodation, meals, and attractions
  • Spring (April to June) or Autumn (September to October) for mild weather and fewer crowds.

Reykjavik, Iceland

Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland, is a captivating destination for travelers looking to experience the unique blend of modern urban life and rugged natural beauty. As the northernmost capital of a sovereign state, it's an entry point to the country's stunning landscapes, including geysers, glaciers, and volcanic terrains. The city itself offers a thriving art scene, innovative culinary experiences, and fascinating historical sites such as the National Museum of Iceland. The cost of visiting can be on the higher side, but the experiences are unparalleled. Reykjavik's airport offers direct flights from many American cities, making it accessible for U.S. tourists. Local travel is convenient, with extensive public transportation and many tour operators providing guided excursions. The weather can be chilly, even in summer, so pack appropriately. The best time to visit depends on preferences: summer for midnight sun and milder weather, or winter for the Northern Lights. Adventure seekers, nature enthusiasts, and cultural explorers will find Reykjavik a thrilling destination.

  • The Blue Lagoon
  • Hallgrímskirkja (iconic church with panoramic views)
  • Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre (architectural wonder)
  • $2,500 - $3,500, including accommodation, meals, and attractions
  • Summer (June to August) for longer days and milder weather or Winter (November to February) for the Northern Lights and unique winter experiences.

Oslo, Norway

Oslo, Norway's capital, is an ideal European destination that blends modern architecture with rich cultural history and stunning natural surroundings. Known for its thriving arts scene, world-class museums, and beautiful parks, Oslo offers plenty to explore. Historical sites such as the Akershus Fortress and the Viking Ship Museum provide a glimpse into Norway's past, while the ultra-modern Opera House represents its progressive present. The city's cost of living is relatively high, but visitors find the experiences rewarding. Oslo's international airport is well-connected with major American cities, making travel convenient. Public transportation is efficient, and many attractions are within walking distance. The weather varies with chilly winters and mild summers, both offering unique experiences. Families will love the educational museums and parks, while adventure seekers can explore nearby fjords and forests. The best time to visit is summer for outdoor activities or winter for skiing and other snow sports.

  • The Viking Ship Museum
  • Vigeland Sculpture Park
  • Oslo Opera House
  • $3,000 - $4,000, including accommodation, meals, and sightseeing
  • Summer (June to August) for outdoor exploration and mild weather, or Winter (December to February) for skiing and other winter activities.

Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki, the capital of Finland, is a vibrant seaside city with a unique blend of historical charm and modern flair. The city's stunning architecture ranges from neoclassical buildings to cutting-edge contemporary designs. Popular attractions include Suomenlinna, a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Helsinki Cathedral, and the avant-garde Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art. Helsinki offers relatively reasonable costs compared to other Nordic capitals, and its popularity is growing among travelers seeking a blend of urban and natural experiences. With direct flights from major American cities and an efficient public transportation system, traveling to and around Helsinki is stress-free. Weather can vary, with cold winters and mild, pleasant summers. The city appeals to families with its array of parks and educational attractions, while adventure seekers can explore nearby forests and archipelagos. The summer months are the best time to visit, offering long days and lively festivals.

  • Suomenlinna Sea Fortress
  • Helsinki Cathedral
  • Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art
  • $2,200 - $3,000, including accommodation, meals, and sightseeing
  • Summer (June to August) for outdoor activities, festivals, and enjoying the archipelago. Winter (December to February) offers a magical snowy experience, with opportunities for ice skating and other winter sports.

Ready To Visit Europe?

When contemplating Europe's breathtaking cities, one cannot deny that the continent is an ideal destination for those seeking a diverse and exhilarating getaway. From the alluring beauty of Rome to the vibrant, multicultural ambiance of London, Europe offers something for everyone. Its captivating culture and delectable cuisine consistently beckon travelers to return time and time again. Consider your wanderlust awakened; Europe promises incredible sightseeing adventures that await you! However, with numerous extraordinary cities located in close proximity, selecting the first to visit can pose a challenge. That's why utilizing Proxi is essential for devising the perfect itinerary - ensuring you know exactly where to go and what to do. Delight in the charming Parisian cafes or immerse yourself in Berlin's edgy arts scene - with Proxi's extensive database, unseen possibilities shine, allowing your creativity to flow freely during your travels. So why not commence your planning now? Ready to embark on your next vacation? Utilize Proxi to craft your personalized travel map today!

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100 Best Places to Visit in Europe – The Ultimate Bucket List

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With so many great options, choosing the best places to visit in Europe can be difficult, from city breaks filled with fascinating history and culture, getaways in nature among breathtaking landscapes and unique natural parks, or the best holiday destinations for a relaxing beach holiday with the whole family.

Venice, Paris and Verona are some of the most beautiful cities for a romantic holiday; Ibiza, Belgrade and Amsterdam promise the best parties and liveliest nightlife, while Riga, Florence and Vienna delight with history and art.

Iceland and the Faroe Islands dazzle outdoor enthusiasts with the most beautiful sceneries, while Croatia and the Greek Islands stand out for their pristine beaches and crystal clear water.

Manchester and Barcelona are some of the best cities to watch a football game in Europe, and for those who want to practice sports, consider Andorra for winter sports, the Azores for watersports and Norway for scenic hikes.

From the Spanish paella and the Italian pasta to the Ukrainian borsch, Europe is also a paradise for the foodies, with extraordinary and diverse gastronomy.

Ready to start planning your next trip?

1 – Venice, Italy

exciting european cities to visit

Venice is definitely one of the best places in Europe for a Romantic getaway, with lovely canals, hundreds of bridges and charming alleys, mixed with fascinating history, stunning architecture and a unique lifestyle.

Explore St. Mark’s Square, where the famous Doge’s Palace is located, one of the most visited landmarks in Venice and an impressive Gothic architecture masterpiece.

Next to the Palace, stop by one of the most beautiful cathedrals in Europe and the most important religious site in Venice, the Basilica of San Marco; and for a glimpse of the whole Venetian lagoon, climb to the St. Mark’s Campanile observation deck.

Cross the Paglia Bridge to admire the iconic Bridge of Sighs, and the Rialto Bridge – the oldest and most famous in Venice – for an overview of the Grand Canal. And, of course, take a boat tour or gondola ride, for a unique viewpoint of the canals!

Don’t miss a chance to explore the lovely islands of Murano, the perfect place to grab a souvenir, or watch a glass-making demonstration; and Burano, famous for its colorful houses.

  • Venice tours

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2 – Paris, France

Paris, France

Speaking of romantic cities, Paris is a must on every couple’s bucket list. But there’s much more to do beyond an idyllic Seine River cruise, or watching the Eiffel Tower lit up!

From the prestigious Louvre to the acclaimed d’Orsay, Paris has more museums and monuments than one can count. The city itself is a work of art, and a free walking tour or a hop-on hop-off bus tour are the best ways to explore the Arc de Triomphe, the Notre Dame, the Sacré Coeur, and all that Paris has to offer.

For those looking for some unusual things to do in Paris, the Catacombs are worth a visit, and for the football lovers, don’t miss the PSG Experience stadium tour!

With plenty of day trips available, the hardest part is choosing among a delicious tasting in the Champagne region, touring the beautiful châteaux of the ​​Loire Valley, or feeling the magic at Disneyland.

At nightfall, the city gets as exciting as during the day, with vibrant nightlife and many night tours to explore. Stroll through Montmartre or The Latin Quarter, grab a drink at the city’s best bars or attend a show at ​Lido de Paris or Moulin Rouge!

  • Paris tours

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3 – Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon is one of the best places in Europe for those seeking good weather, good food, and exciting history, mixed with lively nightlife – especially at Bairro Alto.

Get lost in the narrow streets and charming alleys of the district of Alfama, the oldest in the city, stop by the Sé Cathedral and admire the views from the S. Jorge Castle.

For the architecture lovers, the Belém district is full of wonders, such as the Belém Tower or Jerónimos Monastery, the most magnificent examples of Manueline style – also known as the Portuguese late Gothic.

While in Lisbon, there are plenty of incredible day trips, such as the university town of Coimbra ; Aveiro, frequently labeled as the Portuguese Venice; or Fátima, the leading pilgrimage site.

However, no trip to Lisbon would be complete without visiting Sintra, the fairy tale city. With enchanting woods and a charming medieval village to explore, the cherry on top is the colorful Pena Palace, one of Portugal’s most renowned tourist attractions.

  • Lisbon tours

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4 – Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Among the most bicycle-friendly cities in Europe, the charming capital of the Netherlands, Amsterdam is famous for its canals, a fascinating architecture mixture, and great coffee shops.

Immerse yourself in the city’s rich culture with a visit to Anne Frank’s House in the Jewish Quarter and browse through the city’s best museums, such as the Van Gogh Museum or the Rijksmuseum.

Taking a day trip is always a good idea, especially in a beautiful country like the Netherlands. Visit the medieval town center of Utrecht, the modern metropolis of Rotterdam, or stop by Keukenhof during the spring for a magical glimpse of the tulips fields.

For a unique experience, sail through the picturesque canals on a canal cruise and marvel at the city’s landmarks.

  • Amsterdam tours

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5 – Rome, Italy

Rome, Italy

The capital of the Roman Empire, Rome, has thousands of years of history and culture. It is famous for its stunning architecture, with the main attractions being the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain, and the Pantheon.

Walking around the Eternal City is like visiting an open-air museum, and to check all of the best sites, take a city tour or a hop-on hop-off bus tour.

But there’s also plenty to see indoors, such as the Borghese Gallery, one of the most prestigious museums in the world. For those seeking unusual activities, check the Catacombs of Rome, the underground galleries used as a cemetery for centuries.

Once the sun sets, there’s still fun guaranteed in Rome, with exciting nightlife. Choose from the night tours available to explore the main attractions, embrace the culture and meet locals.

Due to its location, Rome is a perfect city to establish a base and explore the rest of Italy. Before the trip is over, take a day trip to Naples and the sunny Amalfi Coast, marvel at the Renaissance heritage in Florence, or visit the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Hadrian’s Villa or Villa d’Este in Tivoli.

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6 – Tromsø, Norway

Tromso, Norway

Where else in the world can combine the magic of the northern lights with the spectacle of city life? Tromsø, located in Norway, is one of the most unique cities in Europe and is known as the “Paris of the North” for good reason.

From reindeer sledding to restaurant excursions, you can enjoy a mix of outdoor adventure and urban living. During winter, the skies are illuminated with the aurora borealis. You can hit the slopes and go skiing or head indoors for some excellent shopping and dining. Between November and January is also an ideal window for whale watching.

Come summer, you can stay up all night with the Midnight Sun and explore the city, go hiking or join a cruise on the fjords to catch sight of the Arctic wildlife.

During your visit, don’t forget to soak up the culture. Plenty of festivals run throughout the year, including the Tromsø International Film Festival. You can even dine over a traditional meal with Sami reindeer herders and gain an appreciation for indigenous heritage.

  • Tromsø tours

See also: Things to do in Tromsø , Best Places to See the Northern Lights Around the Globe

7 – Vatican City

Saint Peter's basilica, Vatican City

The smallest country in the world and located inside of Rome, Vatican City is one of the best European destinations for Catholics or those seeking religious and cultural experiences.

Tour the city’s top-rated attractions, such as the Vatican Museums, with one of the world’s largest art collections, including the Sistine Chapel, to admire Michelangelo’s beautiful frescoes, or the St. Peter’s Basilica, to explore one of the holiest and most important pilgrimage sites.

Wander around St. Peter’s Square, a popular gathering point for tourists and book a seat at the weekly Papal Audience, held every Wednesday, because no trip to the Vatican is complete without seeing the Pope.

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8 – Dubrovnik, Croatia

Dubrovnik, Croatia

Also known as the Pearl of the Adriatic, the sunkissed Dubrovnik welcomes thousands of tourists every year and marvels them with a unique seafront location and a pleasant Old Town.

Stroll through Cersei’s walk of shame and the Old City Walls on a Game of Thrones tour, that takes the fans across the many filming locations in Dubrovnik, one of the best European cities for TV shows fans.

Visit the top of Mount Srd and soak in the views from the Dubrovnik Cable Car; party at Banje Beach and enjoy many water activities, such as a kayak and snorkeling adventure!

To make the most out of the trip, go on a day trip to explore paradise islands, such as the Elaphiti Islands or Hvar, and pristine beaches in Budva or Makarska.

  • Dubrovnik tours

See also: Things to do in Dubrovnik , Best day trips from Dubrovnik , Game of Thrones tours in Dubrovnik

9 – Canary Islands, Spain

Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain

The Canary Islands are a Spanish archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean along the African coast, with 8 unique islands to explore. A true gem for outdoor enthusiasts, with mild temperatures, sunny weather, and unspoiled natural attractions.

With plenty of exciting experiences available, Tenerife is the biggest island of the archipelago, home to Spain’s highest peak (also one of the highest volcanoes in the world). Go for a hike at Teide National Park (or take a stargazing tour), meet the animals at Loro Park, and swim with turtles.

Continue the trip with a visit to Fuerteventura, declared by UNESCO as a biosphere reserve, highlighting the dazzling landscapes of Timanfaya National Park. Discover volcanic tunnels at Jameos del Agua and Cueva de los Verdes, and taste wine at the volcanic vineyards of La Geria.

Stop by Gran Canaria to stroll around Vegueta’s old town and relax at the best golden sand beaches. But the other islands are also worth a visit, at least on a day trip – La Gomera, with the unique Garajonay National Park; El Hierro with more than 40 diving points;

Save some time for La Palma, with the breathtaking La Caldera de Taburiente National Park; Fuerteventura with pristine beaches and La Graciosa with unique underwater flora and fauna.

  • Canary Islands tours

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10 – London, United Kingdom

London, United Kingdom

London is at the top of the bucket list for most travelers, and it’s not hard to figure out why: one of the world’s most acclaimed and cosmopolitan cities, with over two millennia of history, rich in arts, science, architecture, politics, and lively nightlife.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed with so many great things to do in London, to ensure the best sites such as the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace and London Eye are visited, take a free walking tour or hop on a bus tour.

To relax from the fast pace of the city, stop by the Kew Gardens, meet the animals at London Zoo, visit one of the city’s many museums or catch a musical show.

Consider also taking a day trip to the prehistoric Stonehenge, the spa town of Bath, or the charming town of Windsor – with the main attraction being the Windsor Castle.

And of course, one cannot mention London without a Harry Potter tour and the chance to experience the magic Harry Potter Studio.

  • London tours

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11 – Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona, Spain

Artistic, festive, and fun, Barcelona combines a rich cultural heritage with golden sand beaches and vibrant nightlife.

With the Sagrada Familia attracting visitors worldwide, Park Güell and Casa Batlló are also among the city’s highlights. Still, with so much to discover, it might be worth checking the Barcelona attractions passes to ensure the best deals and visit as many monuments as possible.

A walking tour and a hop-on hop-off bus tour are among the best ways to explore Barcelona, but the cherry on top is the helicopter tour for an unforgettable bird’s-eye view.

Stop by La Boqueria to taste some of Barcelona’s finest treats, and for the football fans touring the Camp Nou, home of FC Barcelona, is a must.

After checking all of the best tours Barcelona has to offer, it’s always a great idea to explore the surroundings on a day trip. Whether snorkeling on Costa Brava or skiing in Andorra, there’s something for every tourist!

  • Barcelona tours

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12 – Munich, Germany

Munich, Germany

With some of the best breweries and Biergartens in Germany, famous for the annual Oktoberfest celebrations, but also with a rich history, architecture, and delicious cuisine, Munich is a major European destination.

Grab a drink at Englischer Garten; explore the Old Town and see the Marienplatz or take a food tour at Viktualienmarkt; visit Nymphenburg Palace, the largest Bavarian palace, check all of Kunstareal District museums and cheer on Bayern Munich at Allianz Arena.

The whole Bavaria region is also worth exploring, so save time for a day trip to visit the magical Neuschwanstein Castle, the charming medieval town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, or ski at Germany’s highest mountain, Zugspitze.

  • Munich tours

See also: Things to do in Munich , Best day trips from Munich

13 – Monaco

Monaco

The sophisticated and glamorous city-state along the French Riviera, with mild temperatures and home to more millionaires than any other region in the world, Monaco is an excellent destination during the entire year and has plenty of fun things to do.

See the sharks at the Oceanographic Museum, stroll through Palais du Prince, take a walking tour around the charming Old Town, or catch a world-class performance at Opéra de Monte-Carlo.

For car enthusiasts, try a luxury car driving experience and get behind the wheel of a Lamborghini or a Ferrari.

Considering booking the trip during the F1 Grand Prix to catch one of the most thrilling and top-rated races in the world and, of course, try your luck at the best casinos – especially the Monte-Carlo.

  • Monaco tours

See also: Things to do in Monaco

14 – Oxford, United Kingdom

Oxford, United Kingdom

Home to England’s oldest university, Oxford is a historical wonderland to explore, and the highlights include the Ashmolean Museum and the Museum of Natural History.

Oxford is one of the best European destinations for scholars and literature, and cinema enthusiasts, with places like Alice’s shop and Alice’s Window at Christ Church to explore.

Plenty of famous authors held academic positions at Oxford University, such as Lewis Carroll (Alice in Wonderland), J. R. R. Tolkien (The Lord of the Rings) and C. S. Lewis (The Chronicles of Narnia), and only one hour drive away, it’s possible to explore Shakespeare’s birthplace at Stratford-upon-Avon.

Discover the most fabulous filming locations on a Harry Potter or Downton Abbey tour, from the Divinity School and Bodleian Library to the Cogges Manor Farm and St Mary’s Church.

  • Oxford tours

See also: Things to do in Oxford

15 – Amalfi Coast, Italy

Amalfi Coast, Italy

One of the most beautiful places in the world , attracting thousands of tourists every year, Amalfi Coast is the perfect spring/summer getaway, with a stunning coastline, breathtaking scenic drives and lovely villages to explore.

Start the trip in the port city of Salerno and climb to the top of Castello di Arechi to admire the unique views 270 meters above the gulf. Continue with Vietri sul Mare to appreciate as much art as possible and the typical colorful ceramics.

Stop by the small fishing village of Cetara and taste the delicious seafood before continuing to Maiori and soaking up some local culture and cuisine, or exploring the hidden gem of Tramonti.

Try Minori’s pasta factories, visit the 18th century Church of Santa Trofimena and walk along the Path of Lemons. For some jaw-dropping views, stop by Terrazza dell’Infinito in Ravello.

Head to the hills and check the oldest town in Amalfi Coast, the incredible medieval-style village of Scala, and proceed to the photogenic Atrani, before reaching the famous and energetic Amalfi.

Marvel at the magical Emerald Grotto in Conca dei Marini, before heading to Furore and crossing Fjord of Furore off the bucket list. Continue to Praiano and Positano, the perfect villages to relax by the superb white sand beaches, without forgetting the famous Path of the Gods hike.

  • Amalfi Coast tours

See also: Things to do on the Amalfi Coast , Best Amalfi Coast boat tours

16 – Dublin, Ireland

Dublin, Ireland

Capital of Ireland, the famous Emerald Isle, thousands of tourists are attracted to Dublin for the legendary Guinness Storehouse, the Irish beer and lively pubs, but the city has much more to offer and has inspired so many artists with its unique beauty.

From James Joyce’s “Ulysses” to the filming location of “Braveheart”, also visit the deers at Phoenix Park, and tour the renowned landmarks, such as the Dublin Castle and the Trinity College.

When in Dublin, make sure to save time for a day trip and explore the stunning surroundings – any Game of Thrones fans out here? There are plenty of  Game of Thrones tours from Dublin available, stopping by the prominent filming locations in the area.

  • Dublin tours

See also: Things to do in Dublin , Best day trips from Dublin , Guinness Storehouse tickets price

17 – Florence, Italy

Florence, Italy

Florence is easily among the best European destinations for art and history lovers. Birthplace of the Renaissance and one of the wealthiest cities during the medieval era, Florence became a top-tier artistic, commercial and political center.

Stroll through the massive Piazza del Duomo, which feels like an open-air museum, and climb to the Duomo’s dome for the most impressive view of Florence.

Discover the home of the Medici Royal Family at Pitti Palace and head to the gothic masterpiece of Palazzo Vecchio.

Florence houses some of the best and most visited museums in Italy, and to make the most out of it, consider grabbing a combined ticket to the Uffizi Gallery and Accademia Gallery.

Besides Florence, the whole Tuscany region deserves to be explored (make sure to not miss our list of things to do in Tuscany ). Take a day trip to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the medieval towers of San Gimignano or relax at the spa town of Saturnia.

  • Florence tours

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18 – Santa Claus Village, Finland

Santa Claus Village, Finland

This amusement park located in Rovaniemi, in the Lapland region, is one of the best places to visit in Europe with children, but grants a whole lot of fun for the whole family.

The main attractions at the Santa Claus Village are the Arctic Circle, a white line painted across the park letting visitors know when they’ve officially entered the Arctic region.

In the heart of the village, the Santa Claus Office can be found, open since 1992 with the world’s nicest man welcoming thousands of visitors from all over the world in his office.

Due to its latitude, this charming village and its surroundings are perfect for some northern lights hunting. This stunning natural phenomenon will make the Santa Claus Village even more magical.

  • Rovaniemi tours

See also: Things to do in Rovaniemi

19 – Milan, Italy

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Milan, Italy

Busy and cosmopolitan, Milan is home to the major Italian fashion brands and offers a perfect mix of art and historical architecture, with impressive modern skyscrapers.

One cannot go to Milan without visiting one of the most sacred landmarks and among the most prominent Christian sites globally, the Duomo. Next to it, there’s the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, the perfect place for window shopping across some high fashion boutiques.

Book a ticket to Santa Maria Delle Grazie, for the unique opportunity to admire Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper, one of the most acclaimed works from the creative genius.

Milan is considerably quick to visit, making the perfect opportunity to combine it with a day trip to one of the nearby stunning lakes, such as Lake Como and Lake Garda; or a mountain adventure at the Swiss Alps or the Dolomites.

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20 – Meteora, Greece

Meteora, Greece

Literally meaning “suspended in the air”, Meteora is an impressive area in Greece with unique rock formations shaped by the rain, wind and other natural phenomenons for millions of years.

But the most astonishing thing about the area is the Orthodox monasteries housed on top of the rocks, assembling one of the world’s largest and most important Orthodox monasteries complexes.

Before the monasteries were built, there were caves – such as the Theopetra Cave – inhabited for over 50.000 years and occupied by monks seeking refuge during the Turkish occupation.

During the 19th century, steps were carved into the rocks, but back in the days, the top was only accessible by ropes and retractable ladders, making it even more mind-blowing and worth a visit.

  • Meteora tours

21 – Krka National Park, Croatia

Krka National Park, Croatia

Just one hour away from Split, along the Krka River, is one of Croatia’s best natural wonders, the Krka National Park.

Intended for scientific, cultural, and educational purposes, recreational and touristic activities quickly gained popularity among the visitors.

Visit one of the most preserved and unaltered ecosystems, with exceptionally rich flora. Even though it’s no longer possible to swim there, it’s still worth a visit to the Skradinski Buk, an incredible natural pool with a set of waterfalls.

Set aside one full day to explore the park and the footpaths, and consider taking either a sightseeing or boat tour.

  • Krka (town) tours

22 – Bologna, Italy

Bologna, Italy

The capital of the Emilia-Romagna region and world-famous for some of the most delicious pasta dishes, Bologna is one of the best places to visit in Europe for the foodies.

Try as many Tagliatelle al Ragù Bolognese as possible, and consider a food tour to taste the best cured meats, sausages, and cheeses across the city’s popular markets, such as the Quadrilatero Old Market and Mercato Delle Erbe.

Between food tastings, climb the Bologna Towers, once used by the wealthy families for defensive purposes. Wander around Bologna’s main square, Piazza Maggiore, and find the hidden canals at Finestrella di Via Piella.

  • Bologna tours

See also: Things to do in Bologna

23 – Brussels, Belgium

Brussels, Belgium

Home to the European Parliament and known as the capital of Europe, along with world-class beer, delicious chocolate and waffles, mixed with rich history, architecture and museums, make Brussels a traveler’s dream.

Start exploring at the Grand Place, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the center of Brussels, and don’t forget a visit to the Atomium.

To check all of the iconic landmarks like the Parc du Cinquantenaire and the Palais Royal, consider either a bike or a bus tour, and stop by the world’s largest parliamentary visitor center, the Parlamentarium.

  • Brussels tours

See also: Things to do in Brussels

24 – Berlin, Germany

Berlin, Germany

Famous for its world-class museums and for being one of the most iconic European cities, Berlin combines turbulent history, high technology, and culture with authentic German pubs and Biergartens.

For the most breathtaking views of the city, visit the TV Tower and the German Parliament Building, also known as the Reichstag, and climb to its dome.

Consider a walking tour to learn about history at the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe and what’s left of the Berlin wall; walk across the Brandenburg Gate, and stroll through the main landmarks, such as the Alexanderplatz.

  • Berlin tours

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25 – Pompeii, Italy

Pompeii, Italy

Speaking of turbulent history, just 30 minutes away from Naples is a major UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most visited archeological sites in the world, the city of Pompeii is one of the best places to visit in Europe for history lovers.

Destroyed by Mount Vesuvius’s eruption, the quick burial of the Roman city allowed its preservation for centuries and its excavation provided unique information about life in the ancient world.

The Archaeological Park of Pompeii is definitely worth visiting and there are plenty of tours departing from nearby locations, such as the Amalfi Coast villages. There’s also the possibility to combine it with a climb to Mount Vesuvius.

Among the unmissable places to check are the Basilica, the Forum, the House of Faun and one of the oldest surviving Roman amphitheaters, the Amphitheatre of Pompeii. Get a skip-the-line ticket and start exploring right away!

  • Pompeii tours

See also: Pompeii tickets price , Best Pompeii tours

26 – Andorra

Andorra

This small country, located by the eastern Pyrenees, between Spain and France, is one of the best winter destinations in Europe when it becomes a ski and snowboard paradise.

Among the fun things to do in Andorra are plenty of ski areas, such as Pas de la Casa, Vallnord, and Grandvalira.

Andorra la Vella – the capital – is also worth checking, with the largest spa center in Europe, the magnificent Caldea, fed by mineral-rich thermal waters.

This is also an excellent destination for beautiful hikes and mountain biking experiences throughout the entire year. Enjoy a getaway in nature, amid lakes and mountains, with trails for all levels – such as the Tristaina Lake Trail.

  • Andorra tours

27 – Manchester, United Kingdom

Manchester, United Kingdom

Manchester is one of the UK’s major creative hubs, with outstanding nightlife, lovely Victorian-era architecture, and a renowned sporting industry.

An excellent destination for sports lovers, start the trip with a tour of the two main stadiums, the Old Trafford, home of Manchester United, and Etihad Stadium, home of Manchester City; and check out the National Football Museum.

With a thriving arts scene, there’s plenty to explore indoors – at the Manchester Art Gallery or The Whitworth – but also outdoors, on a memorable street art tour.

And the fun doesn’t end when the sun goes down. Catch a performance at Manchester Opera House, which has hosted major musicals like the Phantom of the Opera; or see a show at one of Europe’s largest indoor arenas, AO Arena.

  • Manchester tours

See also: Things to do in Manchester

28 – Madrid, Spain

Madrid, Spain

Welcoming millions of visitors every year, the stunning capital of Spain, Madrid, promises a trip full of exciting things to do and unforgettable memories.

Start with a glimpse of the Spanish Royal Family life at the Royal Palace of Madrid and check the Almudena Cathedral nearby. Consider joining a free walking tour and exploring the unique districts, such as Barrio de las Letras or La Latina ​- and even a Money Heist’s filming locations tour.

With some of the finest European museums housed in Madrid, marvel at the greatest masterpieces from Goya, Reubens, or El Greco at Prado Museum, and Pablo Picasso’s Guernica at Reina Sofia Museum.

Due to its central location, Madrid is the perfect base for exploring other Spanish gems, such as the impressive medieval castle in Segovia, the wine region of Ribera del Duero, or the lively university city of Salamanca.

  • Madrid tours

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29 – Azores, Portugal

Azores, Portugal

One of Europe’s best-kept secrets and often compared to Hawaii, the subtropical archipelago of Azores is a hidden gem in the Atlantic ocean. With nine inhabited islands, this is one of the best destinations for outdoor lovers and those seeking a nature retreat.

With mild temperatures and incredible coastline, Azores are a paradise for watersports enthusiasts. Step away from the shore and embark on some diving adventure or whale and dolphin watching.

Explore the beautiful trails and soak in the views of the Sete Cidades Caldera or Boca do Inferno viewpoint in São Miguel island; hike Mount Pico in Pico Island, Monte Brasil in Terceira, or Fajã Grande in Flores and spot many lakes, waterfalls, and breathtaking landscapes.

Also, in São Miguel, stop by Furnas Valley to check the geothermal wonder of Lagoa das Furnas, immerse in the hot springs of Terra Nostra Garden, and taste the unique Cozido das Furnas, a local stew made from meat and vegetable, slowly cooked underground with the hot springs steam.

  • Azores tours

See also: Things to do in the Azores

30 – Loire Castles, France

Chenonceau Castle, Loire Valley, France

Once the extravagant retreats of the French kings, designed for entertainment and enjoyment purposes, today, the fairy tale castles of the Loire Valley are one of the most fascinating European destinations.

With tours for all kinds of budgets, this dreamy multi-day trip easily reached from Paris must be on everyone’s list – the most challenging part is choosing which ones to visit, among so many great options.

The glorious and beautiful decorated Château of Chambord is one of France’s most famous castles; originally a fortified tower, Château de Villandry stands out for the marvelous Renaissance gardens.

With stunning views of the Loire River, Château d’Amboise might be small but equally worth visiting; Château du Clos Lucé, the official residence of Leonardo da Vinci between 1516 and 1519; and the list of the best Loire Valley Castles goes on!

  • Loire Valley tours

See also: Best Loire Valley Castles to Visit from Paris

31 – Lake Bled, Slovenia

Lake Bled, Slovenia

One of Slovenia’s most popular tourist attractions, with clear turquoise waters and a stunning tiny island with a church in the middle, Lake Bled is perfect for a summer getaway.

Easily reached from Ljubljana, the visit to Lake Bled can also be combined with Vintgar Gorge, another of Bled’s natural wonders.

Adventure on the lake on a boat ride, kayaking, or take a dip in the swimming area. For some land activities, hike the Ojstrica and Mala Osojnica loop trail.

The medieval Bled Castle is also worth visiting, sitting atop a cliff 130 meters above the lake, with stunning views – especially at sunset – and even a unique dining experience. Tasting the typical Bled Cream Cake called Kremšnita is a must for those with a sweet tooth.

32 – Mallorca, Spain

Mallorca, Spain

The sunny jewel of the Balearic Islands, Mallorca is one of the best European summer destinations and among the most popular Mediterranean islands.

Explore its spectacular coastline and relax at the most pristine white sand beaches of Cala Vella and Es Trenc Beach, or adventure on a snorkeling tour and explore the underwater wonders.

Wander around Palma de Mallorca Old Town, stop by the magnificent Palma Cathedral and delight yourself on a tapas tour.

Mallorca offers breathtaking landscapes, and hiking Serra de Tramuntana mountain is a must. However, don’t overlook the stunning underworld of Cuevas del Drach and Caves of Hams.

  • Mallorca tours

See also: Things to do in Mallorca

33 – Cinque Terre, Italy

Cinque Terre, Italy

A popular Italian tourist destination, the coastal villages of Cinque Terre offer stunning beaches, photogenic colorful houses, thrilling hikes and superb cuisine.

Monterosso al Mare is the biggest of the five villages and the ultimate beach destination. Vernazza is famous for the colorful houses along the small harbor, with the castle on top of the hill, quickly becoming the most photographed spot in the region.

Riomaggiore, famous for delicious wine and olive oil, is connected to Manarola through Via dell’Amore, the most romantic footpath with incredible sea views.

Last but not least, stop by the oldest and smallest villa, Corniglia. Surrounded by lovely vineyards, stop by Saint Mary’s Terrace and soak in the views.

  • Cinque Terre tours

See also: Best Cinque Terre boat tours , Fun things to do in Cinque Terre

34 – Faroe Islands

Faeroe Islands

Tucked between Iceland and Norway, bathed by the Atlantic Ocean, the Faroe Islands offer one of the best and most unique sceneries in Europe, and its popularity is quickly rising.

Explore Lake Sorvagsvatn and its optical illusion, with an angle where it looks like the river is floating above the ocean; marvel at the beautiful Mulafossur Waterfall in the village of Gasadalur and snap a picture of the iconic Drangarnir.

Home to thousands of Puffins, visit the Mykines island to meet these adorable birds. With more sheep than humans, you’re most likely to encounter these fluffy inhabitants during the trip.

Despite the remote locations, exploring the Faroe Islands on a road trip is very easy, especially with the underwater tunnels connecting them.

35 – Krakow, Poland

Krakow, Poland

One of Poland’s oldest cities and the second-largest one, there are several reasons to visit the historical Krakow.

Start by wandering around the charming old town and let this UNESCO World Heritage site transport you back to middle age.

Explore Wawel Royal Castle, one of Poland’s most important cultural sites, the largest medieval square, Rynek, and tour Kazimierz, the Jewish Quarter.

Just a few minutes away from Krakow, save the last day for a tour to Auschwitz-Birkenau – which can be emotionally draining, but full of remarkable stories that deserve to be remembered.

  • Krakow tours

See also: Things to do in Krakow

36 – Pisa, Italy

Pisa, Italy

Worldwide famous for the leaning tower and for being the birthplace of Galileo Galilei, Pisa is an excellent destination for a weekend getaway.

The city’s highlight is Piazza dei Miracoli, where it’s possible to explore the main landmarks – the Pisa Cathedral, Pisa Baptistry, and the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

It’s also worth strolling through the River Arno, walking along the shopping street, Borgo Stretto, and checking Pisa’s second main square, Piazza dei Cavalieri.

Save at least one full day to explore the surrounding area and make the most of your Tuscany trip, admiring the Renaissance city walls of Luca, the modern Livorno, by the Ligurian Sea, or the enchanting Florence.

See also: Leaning Tower of Pisa tickets , Things to do in Pisa

37 – Malaga, Spain

Malaga, Spain

In the sunny Spanish Costa del Sol, showing the best Andalusia has to offer, Malaga mixes paradisiac beaches, diverse museums, vibrant nightlife and delicious tapas.

With a rich history, explore the Alcazaba and marvel at the views from the ancient Gibralfaro Castle.

The birthplace of Pablo Picasso, find plenty of its wonderful works at the Picasso Museum or join a walking tour and pass across the artist’s childhood home.

Sunbathe at the best Mediterranean beaches, from the famous Playa la Malagueta to the less crowded Playa Peñon del Cuervo.

  • Malaga tours

See also: Things to do in Malaga

38 – Bran Castle, Romania

Bran Castle, Romania

One of Europe’s most famous castles, perched atop a hill, the Bran Castle is commonly known as Dracula’s home.

Built during the 12th century at Transylvania and Wallachia’s border, used for defensive purposes against the Ottoman Empire, providing safe passage between the regions and contributing to their economic development.

The site gained popularity for matching the castle described in Bram Stoker’s novel, Dracula, even though the Irish author never visited Romania.

Welcoming thousands of visitors per year, it houses a private museum dedicated to Queen Marie’s art and furniture collection, richly ornating the rooms.

  • Transylvania tours

See also: Best castles in Europe

39 – Kravica Waterfall, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Kravica Waterfall, Bosnia and Herzegovina

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, the large Kravica Waterfall by the Trebižat River is one of the country’s most precious jewels and best-kept secrets, with its popularity still rising.

Open from May to October, with 25 meters high, this is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the area has much more to offer, such as a peaceful picnic area and a small cafe.

During the hottest months, the best part of the visit is diving into the lake’s clear waters. There are kayaking tours through the river available for those wanting to explore a little more.

40 – Keukenhof gardens, Netherlands

Keukenhof gardens, Netherlands

The world’s most extensive flower garden, the Keukenhof is one of the best places to visit in Europe during the spring and witness this once-in-a-lifetime experience of seeing 7 million tulips bloom.

Rent a bike and pedal around the park or take a relaxing boat tour, a visit to the Keukenhof gardens is also an excellent program for the whole family, let the kids join a scavenger hunt throughout the gardens or pet some furry friends at the petting zoo.

Attracting millions of visitors each year, the garden is easily reached from Amsterdam and Rotterdam.

See also: Keukenhof Gardens tickets price

41 – Prague, Czech Republic

Prague, Czech Republic

Prague is a dream destination with diverse architecture, from the gothic wonder of Church of Our Lady before Týn to the modern and creative Dancing House; outstanding museums, and vibrant nightlife.

Start with a walking tour to check the city’s main sites, from admiring the outstanding Old Town and seeing the famous Astronomical Clock, to the iconic Prague Castle.

Cross the Charles Bridge – possibly on a ghost tour, and learn at the various museums, from the Museum of Communism to the Apple Museum.

Immerse in the local culture and attend a Czech Folklore Show or get the time of your life at a locally-led pub crawl.

  • Prague tours

See also: Things to do in Prague , Prague Castle tickets price , Prague free walking tours

42 – Athens, Greece

Athens, Greece

Overflowing with legends and stories from the Greek Empire, ranking among the sunniest cities in Europe, Athens’s rich history mixed with modernity makes it a complex and extraordinary destination.

Explore the main historical landmarks, such as the iconic Acropolis – and climb there for the city’s best views; marvel at the Parthenon temple’s architecture and visit the Temple of Olympian Zeus.

After checking all monuments and museums, relax by the white sand beaches at Athens Riviera, or consider a day trip to make the most of this Greek adventure.

  • Athens tours

See also: Things to do in Athens , Best tourist attractions in Athens , Best day trips from Athens , Acropolis tickets price

43 – Versailles, France

Versailles, France

Formerly a royal residence, the magnificent Versailles Palace is one of the world’s most visited palaces nowadays and can be easily reached from Paris.

Several tickets are available, some of which also include the Estate of Trianon, Versailles Gardens, and even the musical fountain show, to make the most of the visit – and if the tickets are sold out, check how to grant last-minute Versailles Palace tickets !

With a massive area and over 2000 rooms, it might be worth considering a guided tour to understand its history. One of the palace’s highlights is the Hall of Mirrors, with 357 mirrors.

  • Versailles tours

See also: Versailles tickets price , Best Versailles tours , Best places to visit in France

44 – Porto, Portugal

Porto, Portugal

Often considered one of the best European destinations, Porto has outstanding beauty mixed with delicious gastronomy and incredible nightlife.

Explore the old town and its iconic landmarks, from the Sé do Porto Cathedral to the colorful Largo da Pena Ventosa square, and the spectacular views from Miradouro da Vitória.

While in Porto, one can’t overlook the chance to taste one of the world’s most famous wines, the delicious Francesinha, and catch a fado show.

There are plenty of fun things to do in Porto, from observing the inspiration behind Harry Potter at Gomes Teixeira Square to the fantastic Douro Valley cruises, or exciting day trips to the Peneda-Gerês National Park and the Minho region.

  • Porto tours

See also: Things to do in Porto

45 – Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm, Sweden

A small city where the land meets the sea, with a rich Viking history, exciting music scene, and plenty of islands to explore on a kayaking trip, Stockholm is an excellent destination for a quick city break.

Admire artifacts at the Royal Palace and wander around the colorful Gamla Stan – which translates to Old Town.

To get deeper into the city’s history, visit the 17th-century warship at Vasa Museum. With the Vikings being one of Sweden’s most famous ancestors, several tours pass through the most important sites, such as the ancient settlement of Granby.

Delight in modern Swedish cuisine and enjoy Stockholm’s nightlife, whether it is by catching a show at Avicii Arena, seeing a ballet at Royal Swedish Opera, or joining a pub crawl.

  • Stockholm tours

See also: Things to do in Stockholm

46 – Riga, Latvia

Riga, Latvia

Riga is the liveliest among the capitals, with outstanding Art Nouveau architecture, exuberant nightlife, and stunning landscapes.

Stroll around the Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with most of Riga’s monuments, such as the iconic House of the Blackheads, the St. Peter’s Church, or the Central Market.

Learn about the Latvian War of Independence at Freedom Monument, and get transported back to Medieval times at the Swedish Gate.

Try some Riga Black Balsam – made from pure vodka – and party at the many pubs and bars.

See also: Things to do in Riga

47 – Granada, Spain

Alhambra, Granada, Spain

Granada is an excellent choice for a city break: one of the most iconic Andalusian destinations, famous for its UNESCO World Heritage Sites, beautiful Islamic architecture, delicious tapas, and exciting flamenco shows.

Perched atop a hill, find the impressive Alhambra fortress and marvel at the views from the Alcazaba Tower. There are plenty of Alhambra tickets available, some of which also combine the visit to Generalife.

Check the Royal Chapel of Granada, explore the unique Albaicín district, and explore the Moorish-styled Alcaicería. For a remarkable sunset, stop by San Nicolas Viewpoint.

With a rich Arab heritage, save some time to relax at a traditional hammam spa or tour the best-preserved Arab baths at El Bañuelo.

  • Granada tours

See also: Things to do in Granada , Alhambra tickets price

48 – Kiruna, Sweden

Kiruna, Sweden

As the northernmost city in Sweden, Kiruna is well-situated for all of your Arctic adventures. Whether you’re journeying here to witness the aurora borealis or stay the night in the famous Ice Hotel, Kiruna will expand your horizons.

Head to the Abisko National Park and immerse yourself in the alpine landscape. Here, you can watch the northern lights come out, go hiking or practice your photographic skills.

For a classic Swedish experience, put on your snowsuit and go dog sledding! Keep your camera on hand to capture the once-in-a-lifetime ride. This is one activity the kids won’t soon forget. If you’re looking for more of an adrenaline rush, you can traverse the terrain on a snowmobile.

To get a taste of local culture, you can join a city tour that includes dining out on street food. Savor the Arctic cheese and reindeer and moose meat in a traditional tipi!

  • Kiruna tours

See also: Things to do in Kiruna

49 – Frankfurt, Germany

Frankfurt, Germany

Once among the most significant medieval cities in Germany, most of Frankfurt was destroyed during the Second World War. Nowadays, it perfectly blends modernity and history, with an impressive skyline, rich museums, the Goethe-Haus, and Anne Frank’s first home.

Look out for the city’s oldest building, the 15th-century medieval Eschenheim Tower, contrasting with Financial District’s opulent skyscrapers – where the city gets its Mainhattan nickname from.

Explore the lively Römerberg and soak in the views from the top of the Frankfurt Cathedral observation tower. Cross the Eiserner Steg bridge and stroll through the scenic Mainkai walk while marveling at the Main river.

Famous for its sausages, stop by Kleinmarkthalle to grab a traditional wurst at Metzgerei Schreiber, and accompany it with some apple wine.

  • Frankfurt tours

See also: Things to do in Frankfurt

50 – Capri, Italy

Capri, Italy

Located in the Gulf of Naples, with an outstanding landscape and delicious cuisine, there’s a lot to explore in Capri.

Check the world-famous Piazzetta di Capri, the island’s center and its liveliest area, and try some ravioli capresi at the local restaurants.

Book a boat tour in Capri and adventure on its stunning turquoise waters and marvel at the Arco Naturale and Blue Gotto. Relax by the Gardens of Augustus and admire its views.

Visit the dreamy Villa San Michele and, of course, sunbathe at Capri’s best beaches such as Marina Grande, the best one for swimming, and the famous Bagni di Tiberio.

  • Capri tours

See also: Best boat tours in Capri

51 – Greek Islands

Navagio Beach, Zakynthos, Greece

From the worldwide famous dreamy white villages of Santorini to the unique pink sand of Elafonisi Beach in Crete, the Greek Islands are a piece of heaven in the Mediterranean and definitely worth visiting.

In Crete, the largest of the islands, stroll around the Venetian Harbour and explore Chania ’s lovely Old Town, sunbathe in Falasarna, and marvel at the historical Knossos Palace.

Continuing to one of the finest islands in the Aegean Sea, Rhodes, explore the ancient ruins of Lindos Acropolis, snorkel in secluded coves, and wonder at the natural reserve of the Butterflies Valley.

Home of Hippocrates, Kos has a rich history and unique landscapes to explore. Continue with Mykonos with a lovely old town and vibrant nightlife, making it one of the best greek islands for partying.

With jaw-dropping turquoise waters, stop by Porto Timoni Beach in Corfu, snorkel in one of the finest Blue Lagoons in the world, and visit the distinctive Cape Dastris cliffs.

On the best European island for a honeymoon, the charming Santorini, watch the most romantic sunsets at Oia and swim at the unique Red Beach with volcanic red sand.

And of course, there’s much more to explore, considering Greece has over 200 islands. Enjoy the dreamiest beaches, embrace its rich history and try the delicious Mediterranean cuisine.

See also: Things to do in Rhodes , Things to do in Kos , Things to do in Santorini , Things to do in Crete , Things to do in Corfu , Things to do in Mykonos , Things to do in Paros , Things to do in Naxos

52 – Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

Croatia’s oldest and largest natural park, with almost 300 km², Plitvice Lakes, is one of the best places to visit in Europe and among its most extraordinary natural wonders.

Its primary attraction is the crystal clear lakes, which only cover 1% of this enormous park. With a total of 16 main lakes connected through stunning waterfalls, even though they look enchanting, swimming is prohibited.

With incredible fauna and flora to admire, adventure on the park’s hiking trails, or rent a boat and row in Kozjak lake. The park turns into a white wonderland during the winter, and skiing is among the most popular activities.

  • Plitvice Lake tours

53 – Seville, Spain

Seville, Spain

Among the most famous cities of Andalusia, with world-famous flamenco shows, glorious architecture, and delicious tapas, the sunkissed Seville is filled with fun things to do.

With Christian and Moorish influences, explore the stunning Real Alcázar of Seville, and continue to the Seville Cathedral & La Giralda, the world’s largest Gothic cathedral.

Climb to the unique Setas de Sevilla and rent a rowboat at Plaza de Plaza de España. And for the Game of Thrones fans, there are a couple of filming locations to visit.

To make the most of your trip, there are plenty of day trips available, from the historical Italica, the natural wonder of Doñana National Park, the unique city of Ronda, to the paradise beaches at Zahara de los Atunes.

  • Seville tours

See also: Things to do in Seville , Best day trips from Seville , Real Alcazar of Seville tickets price

54 – Belgrade, Serbia

Belgrade, Serbia

World-famous for its vibrant nightlife and parties, Belgrade has something for everyone – from spectacular galleries and architecture to the bustling streets and best bars.

Visit Belgrade’s largest park, Kalemegdan, and find the old citadel at the Belgrade Fortress. Admire Serbia’s major Orthodox Church, the Church of St Sava, and stop by the Nikola Tesla Museum.

After absorbing all of the city’s rich and turbulent history, embrace its reputable nightlife, with great indoor clubs and taverns during the cold months, and riverside venues for the warm months.

  • Belgrade tours

See also: Things to do in Belgrade

55 – Trolltunga, Norway

Trolltunga, Norway

Translated to “troll tongue”, Norway’s most famous rock formation and one of the most photographed in the world, Trolltunga, is perched on the side of a fjord, over 1000 meters above the sea.

The 14 km hike starts by the Ringedalsvatnet lake and takes about 8-12 hours, depending on the experience level. Despite the challenging trail, take the time to enjoy the journey and marvel at the breathtaking Norwegian landscape.

56 – Ibiza, Spain

Ibiza, Spain

A Spanish oasis in the Mediterranean, the island of Ibiza is one of the best places to visit in Europe during the summer months.

With an outstanding coastline, take a boat tour and cool down by the island’s incredible beaches, from Cala Comte, the most famous one, the calm turquoise waters of Cala Bassa, to the hippie vibe of Cala Benirràs.

Wander around the fortified Old Town, with labyrinth streets and the best views over the harbor.

And what most visitors come from: go party – from plenty of boat and pool parties to join, to the world’s most famous beach clubs and the best party venues, there’s always fun granted in Ibiza.

  • Ibiza tours

See also: Things to do in Ibiza

57 – Geneva, Switzerland

Geneva, Switzerland

Near the French border, the city of Geneva is the headquarters of the United Nations in Europe, with the impressive Palais des Nations.

Explore the charming Old Town, see the Flower Clock at the lovely Jardin Anglais and visit the city’s incredible museums such as the Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum.

By the margin of Geneva Lake, admire one of the world’s tallest water fountains, Jet d’Eau, and explore the lake and the surrounding cities on a boat tour.

And while in Switzerland, taste as much chocolate as possible!

  • Geneva tours

See also: Things to do in Geneva

58 – Sofia, Bulgaria

Sofia, Bulgaria

Less touristy than the nearby European capitals, Sofia is famous for the massive Saint Alexander Nevsky Patriarch’s Cathedral, the royal Vrana Palace, and the 10th-century Boyana Church.

Stroll through the pedestrian Pirotska Street, stop by its excellent shops and cafes, or grab a souvenir at the Central Market Hall.

Catch a worldwide famous folklore show or a performance at the Sofia Opera and Ballet, and embrace the city’s lively nightlife.

  • Sofia tours

See also: Things to do in Sofia

59 – Ljubjana, Slovenia

Ljubjana, Slovenia

The charming capital of Slovenia by the margin of the Ljubljanica River, one of Ljubljana’s most iconic attractions is the Ljubljana Castle perched atop a hill, in the middle of the city.

Cross the Dragon Bridge – with the dragon being the city’s symbol and protector – explore the beautiful Old Town, with the lively Prešeren Square, ​and finish by relaxing at the large Tivoli Park.

For some alternative activities, stop by the Metelkova Art Center, the city’s cultural and artistic hub, with performances, exhibitions, and a lot of incredible street art.

  • Ljubljana tours

See also: Things to do in Ljubljana

60 – Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen, Denmark

Famous for being Hans Christian Andersen’s birthplace and the little mermaid sculpture, this small Scandinavian city has a lot to offer to its visitors.

With magnificent Danish cuisine and the famous Tivoli Gardens amusement park, Copenhagen attracts visitors worldwide.

Shop at Strøget, Europe’s largest pedestrian streets, wander around the city’s Old Town, and admire Nyhavn’s colorful architecture through a canal cruise.

Delve into Copenhagen’s rich history and culture with a visit to Christiansborg Palace and the many museums – such as the National Museum of Denmark.

  • Copenhagen tours

See also: Things to do in Copenhagen

61 – Mont Saint Michel, France

Mont Saint Michel, France

Easily reached on a day trip from Paris to Normandy, the magnificent Mont Saint Michel is one of France’s most remarkable medieval gems.

Welcoming pilgrims since the 8th century, this small island with the Abbey of Mont Saint-Michel perched at the top is one of the most unique places to visit in Europe.

Take the time to explore the medieval village, admire the ancient defense walls and climb to the North Tower observation deck, for an outstanding view of the bay.

  • Normandy tours

See also: Best Normandy tours from Paris , Mont Saint Michel Day Trip from Paris – Price & Tips

62 – Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki, Finland

By the shore of the Gulf of Finland, the charming Helsinki delights those who visit it with stunning sea landscapes, landmarks and delicious Nordic cuisine.

Take the ferry to one of the world’s largest sea fortresses, Suomenlinna, once a substantial naval base. Today, not only one of Finland’s most fantastic attractions but also home to 900 inhabitants.

With a great diversity of attractions, visit Temppeliaukio Church, an ancient church carved into a rock, the 19th century Helsinki Cathedral and the orthodox Uspenski Cathedral.

Explore the city’s interesting museums, from the art pieces at Kiasma and Ateneum to the Design Museum. Save also some time to grab a souvenir at Helsinki’s Market Square or get the adrenaline rushing at Linnanmäki amusement park.

  • Helsinki tours

See also: Things to do in Helsinki

63 – The Blue Eye, Albania

The Blue Eye, Albania

The Blue Eye, a natural water spring pool, source to the Bistricë River, is one of the most unique places to visit in Albania.

Easily reached upon a 35-minute drive from the city of Sarandë, the Blue Eye dazzles everyone with its turquoise crystal clear waters, surrounded by a dense forest.

Divers have explored at least 50 meters, but its total depth is still uncertain. Even though swimming in these mysterious waters is prohibited, marvel at this incredible natural phenomenon and watch the bubbles rising to the surface.

  • Sarandë tours

Read more: Most Beautiful Places in Europe

64 – Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Famous for its iconic castle perched atop a hill and the medieval old town, Edinburgh’s culture-rich city and artistic is one of the most incredible places to visit in the UK.

Enjoy the best panoramic views from Calton Hill or hike the 2.4-mile trail through the ancient volcano up to Arthur’s Seat.

Explore the city’s greatest museums, such as the National Museum or the National Galleries of Scotland, and visit the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the former residence of Scotland’s queens.

There are plenty of fun things to do in Edinburgh, from visiting some of Outlander’s filming locations, to taking this opportunity to explore more of Scotland’s beauty, with a day trip to Loch Ness and the Highlands.

  • Edinburgh tours

See also: Things to do in Edinburgh , Best day trips from Edinburgh , Edinburgh Castle tickets price , Palace of Holyroodhouse tickets price

65 – Bratislava, Slovakia

Bratislava, Slovakia

Not the typical European capital, easily visited in one weekend, the lovely Bratislava offers plenty of significant landmarks to explore.

Explore the city’s charming Old Town, cross the Michael’s Gate and visit the fairy-tale Bratislava Castle.

Admire the art nouveau of The Blue Church, admire the views from the historical Devín Castle and stroll through Bratislava’s best museums.

Save also some time to soak in the local culture, from catching a play at Slovak National Theatre to trying the city’s best cafes and lively bars.

  • Bratislava tours

See also: Things to do in Bratislava

66 – Mycenae, Greece

Mycenae, Greece

Located in eastern Peloponnese, Mycenae, what was once one of the Greek civilization’s major centers, is today one of Greece’s most important archaeological sites.

Quickly visited on a day trip from Athens, with buses running between the two cities, explore the kingdom of the legendary Agamemnon, commander of the Greek forces in the Trojan War.

Cross the famous Lion Gate, the entrance to the fortified town, and visit the Treasury of Atreus, where it’s allegedly the tomb of Agamemnon.

Also, stop by the Archaeological Museum and marvel at the impressive exhibits and artifacts excavated at the site.

  • Peloponnese tours

67 – Salzburg, Austria

Salzburg, Austria

A worldwide famous music center, from the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to the internationally acclaimed annual Salzburg Festival and the greatest operas and orchestral concerts, Salzburg is one of the best cities to visit in Austria.

Relive the iconic Sound of Music with several tours passing through the movie’s filming locations – including tours departing from Vienna and Munich, if you’re only planning to take a day trip.

While in the city, explore one of Europe’s biggest medieval castles, the Hohensalzburg Fortress, wander around Mirabell Palace’s gardens, and admire most of the city’s landmarks at the Old Town, including Salzburg Cathedral and the lively Getreidegasse shopping street.

  • Salzburg tours

See also: Things to do in Salzburg , Best Sound of Music tours in Salzburg

68 – Rhine Falls, Switzerland

Rhine Falls, Switzerland

The largest waterfall in Europe, the massive Rhine Falls are one of the best places to visit in Switzerland, located on the border between Schaffhausen and Zurich.

A great attraction all year round, but the true power of the Rhine Falls is visible during the summer, with the water impressively flowing at 600,000 liters per second.

Just 40 minutes away from Zurich, it’s an excellent destination for a day trip. Start by exploring the lovely villages by the river and marvel at nature’s beauty from the multiple viewing platforms.

For an even more memorable experience, consider taking a boat cruise if visiting between spring to fall.

69 – Oslo, Norway

Oslo, Norway

Frequently overlooked compared to its neighbors, the city of Oslo deserves a place on every traveler’s bucket list, with plenty of fun activities available.

For the history lovers, stop by the Viking Ship Museum and wander around one of Norway’s most impressive Renaissance buildings, the Akershus Fortress.

For those looking for outdoor activities, join a Fjord sightseeing cruise and marvel at the unique landscape, adventure in some hiking in Nordmarka or go skiing at Oslo Winter Park.

Explore the charming Old Town and stop by the main shopping area, Karl Johan street. Tour the Aker Brygge neighborhood, catch a concert at the Oslo Opera House, or relax at a typical Scandinavian floating sauna.

See also: Things to do in Oslo

70 – Blue Lagoon, Iceland

Blue Lagoon, Iceland

One of Iceland’s most famous attractions, the unique Blue Lagoon, is the perfect way to relax on a day trip from Reykjavik – and multiple tours are available, making it very easy to access.

With a unique milky blue shade (due to the high silica concentration in the water), this insta-worthy destination is a great option all year round, with an average temperature of 39 °C at the geothermal pools.

Just remember to book the tickets in advance, considering its broad popularity.

See also: Things to do in Reykjavik , Best day trips from Reykjavik

71 – Corsica, France

Corsica, France

Immediately located above Sardinia , perfectly mixing French and Italian culture, bathed by the warm Mediterranean waters, the island of Corsica is a great European destination for the summer months.

With Corsica’s stunning sandy beaches with crystal clear water, spend the holidays sunbathing and relaxing at the famous Porto-Vecchio or the secret Petit Sperone Beach.

Explore the rich underwater fauna and flora on a diving or snorkeling tour; and adventure through the Bavella Needles or the epic GR20 hiking trail and marvel at Corsica’s landscape.

Take the time to stroll through Bastia Old Harbor, visit the lovely villages of La Balagne, Pigna or Sant’ Antonino, and delight with the best Mediterranean food, it’ll surely be an unforgettable trip.

  • Corsica tours

See also: Things to do in Corsica , Best boat tours in Corsica , Best islands to visit in Europe during Summer

72 – Canyon Matka, Republic of Macedonia

Canyon Matka, Republic of Macedonia

Less than a 30-minute drive from Macedonia’s capital, Skopje, the impressive Canyon Matka is a popular day/half day trip for locals and tourists alike.

Covering about 5.000 hectares, this unique nature getaway offers plenty of outdoor activities, from renting a kayak to taking a boat tour.

Despite the unique landscape, one curiosity about this place is it holds Macedonia’s oldest artificial lake, made in 1938.

With several medieval monasteries and 10 caves, including Vrelo Cave, one of Europe’s deepest underwater caves, it’s one of the best places to visit in Southeast Europe.

73 – Belfast, United Kingdom

Belfast, United Kingdom

The largest city in Northern Ireland and its capital, Belfast, is famous worldwide for being where the RMS Titanic was built.

The Titanic legacy is still solid these days; take this opportunity to learn more about its history at the Titanic Belfast museum and explore the Titanic Quarter.

Just one hour from Belfast lies the Dark Hedges, one of Game of Thrones’ most iconic filming locations. Consider also combining it with a trip to the unique Giant’s Causeway.

During the weekends, stop by the St. George’s Market to taste some local specialties, and don’t forget to visit Belfast Castle.

  • Belfast tours

See also: Things to do in Belfast

74 – Palermo, Italy

Palermo, Sicily, Italy

The lively city of Palermo, in the heart of the Mediterranean, has so many Palaces, churches and landmarks to explore, no wonder why it’s one of Italy’s major cultural hubs.

Start by the iconic Cathedral of Palermo and explore its complex history, then climb to the rooftop for a bird-eye view of the whole city.

Continue to the 9th century Norman Palace and admire the impressive details of the Palatine Chapel, mixing Greek, Arabic and Latin styles, and exhibiting majestic mosaics.

Sunbathe in the best white sand beaches in Sicily, from the famous Mondello Beach to the natural reserve of Isola delle Femmine.

Make the most of your trip with a day tour from Palermo, and explore the remarkable Valley of the Temples, the ruins of Segesta and Mount Etna, Europe’s most active volcano.

  • Palermo tours

See also: Things to do in Palermo , Things to do in Sicily

75 – Warsaw, Poland

Warsaw, Poland

Warsaw is a city of contrasts, from the Warsaw Barbican, one of the remaining historic fortifications, to the views from the 30th-floor terrace at the Palace of Culture and Science; it perfectly blends the past with the modern days.

Explore the colorful Old Town, one of the main historical attractions, have a glimpse of the Polish monarch’s lives both at the Royal Castle and Wilanów Palace.

Delve into the city’s history at the Warsaw Uprising Museum, catch a show at Grand Theatre, one of the most famous opera houses in Europe and embrace Warsaw’s lively nightlife on a Polish vodka tour.

  • Warsaw tours

See also: Things to do in Warsaw

76 – Vienna, Austria

Vienna, Austria

Once the capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Vienna is still Austria’s most populated city and one of the best summer destinations in Europe, with plenty of festivals and outdoor activities.

Famous for its ties to Mozart and Beethoven, Vienna is often referred to as the city of music; take this opportunity to catch a classical concert at Peterskirche, Eschenbach Palace, or Musikverein.

Among the most popular landmarks in Vienna is the Schönbrunn Palace, filled with history and immense gardens to explore. Other palaces worth visiting are the Hofburg Imperial Palace, currently home to Austria’s president, and Belvedere Palace, with an impressive art collection.

To absorb all of Vienna’s rich history, consider joining a free walking tour, led by local guides. But don’t overlook the rest of Austria’s wonders, and save some time for a day trip – whether it is to Wachau Valley or Lake Neusiedl, this country won’t disappoint.

  • Vienna tours

See also: Things to do in Vienna , Best day trips from Vienna , Vienna free walking tours

77 – Golden Horn Beach, Croatia

Golden Horn Beach, Croatia

Located in Brac Island, even though not as famous as Hvar and Korčula, lies one of the best beaches in Croatia, the Golden Horn Beach – locally known as Zlatni Rat or Rat Beach.

Bathed by the Adriatic Sea, the stunning white sand beach got its name from the peninsula’s unique arrow-shaped formation of sand, and its crystal clear waters promise to marvel anyone who visits it.

Easily reached on a day trip from Split, this paradisiac beach is the perfect place to sunbathe, scuba dive, and try many watersports such as jetski or windsurfing.

See also: Things to do in Split , Best day trips from Split

78 – Lyon, France

Lyon, France

When people think about French destinations, Lyon is not often what comes to mind, but there are plenty of reasons to visit it, from the world-class gastronomy to its architecture and landmarks.

The Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse, Lyon’s first indoor market, is a mandatory stop for the foodies. Along with St. Antoine Market and La Croix Rousse Market, there’s no shortage of delicious local meals to try.

In the heart of Lyon, stop by the impressive Cathédrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste to marvel at the Gothic architecture, and take a walking tour around the Vieux Lyon District.

For those visiting during the summer, catch the Nuits de Fourvière, an arts and music festival at the Roman theaters, that promises an unforgettable experience.

See also: Things to do in Lyon

79 – Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

When it comes to places to visit in Europe, the Balkans are still gaining popularity, but Sarajevo deserves a place on everyone’s bucket list.

While exploring this budget-friendly European destination, stop by the Baščaršija historical market, admire the 16th century Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque ​and soak in the views from the Yellow Bastion.

However, Sarajevo requires a historical context to understand better the city, with the siege of Sarajevo, the longest in modern warfare, still so recent (1992-1996).

Visit the Sarajevo Tunnel, also known as Tunnel of Hope, built during the siege to allow food, supplies, and humanitarian aid into the city; and check the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

  • Sarajevo tours

See also: Things to do in Sarajevo

80 – Bordeaux, France

Bordeaux, France

Worldwide famous for its vineyards, the cosmopolitan city of Bordeaux is one of the best places to visit in Europe for wine lovers.

After checking La Cité du Vin, embrace the city’s rich cultural heritage, from the Roman Palais Gallien to the Medieval Gates; gothic cathedrals among baroque palaces and more historical monuments than one can count.

Stroll through the iconic Place de la Bourse square, check Bordeaux’s remarkable museums, such as the Museum of Fine Arts, the oldest one, and catch a performance at the Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux.

Explore historical chateaux during the day and, for the ultimate fairytale experience, consider spending the night in a castle.

  • Bordeaux tours

See also: Things to do in Bordeaux

81 – Madeira, Portugal

Madeira, Portugal

Worldwide famous for Cristiano Ronaldo’s home, the subtropical island of Madeira is one of the most beautiful hidden gems in Europe.

Along the African coast, with warm temperatures during the entire year, this is one of the best places to explore rainforests, hike, and enjoy a getaway in nature.

From the Vereda do Areeiro trail, the glass bottom Cabo Girão viewpoint, or watching the sunrise at Pico Ruivo, every spot offers a more breathtaking view than the other.

After all the hiking, cool off at the unique Porto Moniz’s volcanic swimming pools, with crystal clear waters, while marveling at the Atlantic ocean.

Try the Monte Sledge toboggan ride, one of Madeira’s most unique and fun attractions, sliding down the streets on a basket; admire the traditional Santana houses and drink the famous Poncha.

  • Madeira tours

See also: Things to do in Madeira

82 – Alps

Alps Mountains

Europe’s most extensive mountain range, stretching through 8 countries, from France to Slovenia, the Alps are worth visiting for its unique landscape, from crystal clear lakes to dramatic mountains.

In the Italian Alps, one of the most popular attractions is the Dolomites, with the iconic Tre Cime di Lavaredo and its 10 km loop trail, or the beautiful Lago di Braies.

The alps’ higher mountain, Mont Blanc, can be found in the French Alps. The charming Chamonix village, surrounded by mountains, is the place for those looking for a relaxing getaway – and home to one of the best ski resorts in Europe for those looking for a bit of adrenaline.

From hiking to winter sports, the cherry on top of a trip to the Swiss Alps is the scenic Glacier Express 8h ride, from Zermatt to St. Moritz. The unforgettable panoramic train ride is the most comfortable way to travel across the alps and admire its landscape.

In Germany, the Alps can be seen in the Bavaria region, and the best place to admire its higher peak is by the Eibsee lake. The obvious choice to admire the Julian Alps in Slovenia is Lake Bled, but the trails at Triglav National Park are also worth exploring.

The Alps can also be visited in Austria, Monaco and Liechtenstein; choose from skiing and snowboarding to hiking or just relaxing surrounded by nature, and there’s the recipe for a memorable trip.

83 – Vilnius, Lithuania

Vilnius, Lithuania

Charming Lithuania’s capital, filled with history and a strong Jew heritage, Vilnius was once Europe’s largest Jewish center. Consider starting with a free walking tour around the Old Town and Jewish Quarter or the artistic district of Užupis.

Check the 15th century St. Anne’s Church, with its stunning Flamboyant Gothic style, and climb to the Three Crosses Monument for the city’s best views.

There’s plenty to learn about Vilnius’ rich history for those into museums, from the dark Museum of Occupations and Freedom Fights, built in a former KGB headquarters (with a prison where death penalties were executed), to the exhibitions at the Contemporary Art Centre.

  • Vilnius tours

See also: Things to do in Vilnius

84 – Stonehenge, United Kingdom

Stonehenge, United Kingdom

The prehistoric Stonehenge, located in Wiltshire, is one of the UK’s most famous landmarks and easily reached on a day trip from London – taking about 2 hours.

Most of Stonehenge’s fame drifts from the fact that no one knows what those mysterious stones were used for, and there is no lack of theories, from astronomical studies to pagan ceremonies. Still, the most likely one is that it once was a burial ground.

Welcoming millions of visitors per year, the best time to visit it (for fewer crowds) is during weekdays and either in the early morning or sunset.

See also: Stonehenge tours from London

85 – Postojna Cave, Slovenia

Postojna Cave, Slovenia

What says “once in a lifetime experience” more than taking an underground train through a karst cave in Slovenia?

With millions of years of history, carved by the Pivka River, the Postojna Cave is one of Slovenia’s most beautiful natural wonders and lies 46km from Ljubljana.

Save an hour and a half for the cave tours, including the cave presentation by a local guide and the train ride. The tours are also wheelchair accessible and suitable for all kinds of ages.

After marveling at the cave’s 24 km of underground passages and massive halls, accompanied by the magical sound of the water dripping from the stalactites, stop by the world’s largest cave castle, the medieval Predjama Castle.

86 – Budapest, Hungary

Budapest, Hungria

With the iconic Hungarian Parliament Building, Budapest is one of the most photogenic cities in Europe, and a great budget-friendly capital to visit.

Start in the Buda side, exploring the historic Buda Castle, and continue to Fisherman’s Bastion, by the stunning Matthias Church, with the best views over the river and the city.

Cross the Széchenyi Chain Bridge to the Pest side of the river, stop by the Shoes on the Danube Bank and join a free walking tour through the Jewish Quarter.

With rich mineral waters, a trip to Budapest wouldn’t be complete without trying the famous thermal baths, such as Széchenyi or Gellért.

After recharging the energies, consider taking a day trip to the lovely little town by the Danube Bend, Szentendre, or the largest lake in central Europe, Lake Balaton.

  • Budapest tours

See also: Things to do in Budapest , Best day trips from Budapest , Hungarian Parliament tickets price , Budapest free walking tours

87 – Isle of Man

Isle of Man

Between England and Ireland, the small Isle of Man, bathed by the Irish sea, inhabited since 6500 BC, has plenty of history to discover and fun things to do.

The Manx Museum is a must for museum lovers, with unique artifacts from the Island’s Celtic and Viking past.

Delve into Isle of Man’s history at one of the best-preserved medieval castles in the world, Castle Rushen, and consider checking the Peel Castle as well, built by the Vikings.

Sports fans? Plan the trip during The Isle of Man TT, for one of the world’s most thrilling motorcycle races.

And for those looking for a getaway among nature, climb the Snaefell Mountain or walk to the Fairy Bridge. The Isle of Man has something for every kind of traveler.

88 – Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany

Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany

Welcoming about 1.5 million visitors per year, the Neuschwanstein Castle is one of the most impressive attractions in Germany, easily reached on a day trip from Munich.

Commissioned by King Ludwig II of Bavaria, the castle looks straight from a Disney movie. In fact, the resemblances are not a coincidence, as it served as inspiration for the Sleeping Beauty Castle.

Considered one of the most photographed buildings in the world, check the many viewpoints and get the best shots of it – including the famous shot of the castle atop of the hill, from the Queen Mary’s Bridge, also known as Marienbrücke.

Even though it’s not allowed to photograph inside the castle, it’s also worth taking a tour and exploring its magnificent rooms. Remember to book the tickets in advance, especially if you’re planning to visit during the high season.

See also: Neuschwanstein Castle tickets price

89 – Durmitor, Montenegro

Durmitor, Montenegro

Montenegro is still a hidden gem compared to other European countries, but the Durmitor National Park is a pretty solid reason for it to be added to everyone’s bucket list.

Home to Europe’s largest and deepest canyon, go rafting in the Tara River, or cross the 365m Đurđevića Tara Bridge and admire this green oasis ready to be explored, standing 170m above the ground.

Take the trail to Bobotov Kuk and admire Montenegro’s highest peak views, or check the 18 glacial lakes spread through the park.

The Durmitor National Park is also perfect for some canyoning, mountain biking, or simply enjoying a relaxing nature retreat with a picnic by the lake.

Consider the 1 km zip line at Extreme Zipline Tara, for those looking for some extra adrenaline, reaching a maximum speed of 120 km/h.

90 – Malta & Gozo

Valletta, Malta

A tiny archipelago bathed by the Mediterranean, Malta is located between Sicily and Tunisia, with warm temperatures during the entire year, making it worth visiting even in December for a warm winter break.

Perfectly blending culture with outdoor adventures, visit the Megalithic Temples of Malta, built by the Neolithic inhabitants and among the oldest temples in the world.

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New Study Says These Are the 10 Best Cities in Europe in 2024

Istanbul cracks the top 10, berlin is on the rise, and this city remains no. 1 in resonance’s annual best-in-europe rankings..

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Aerial view of the Tower Bridge in London, one of London's must-see landmarks in London.

Easy to identify, easy to love: London sits atop the Resonance rankings of Europe’s best cities.

Photo by RAW-films/Shutterstock

In these days of digital nomadism and working remotely, a list of Europe’s best cities has even greater value—and this annual ranking by Resonance , a consultancy group in real estate, tourism, and economic development that AFAR has partnered with for several years, has the most thorough, holistic approach around.

“It’s not just best city to live, it’s not just best city to work, or best city to visit,” said Chris Fair, president and CEO of Resonance Consultancy. “It’s taking a cross section of all those factors.” In 2024, Resonance updated its metrics to focus on three key areas—livability, lovability, and prosperity—that cover everything from GDP to housing affordability, green spaces to nightlife, and even a city’s social media presence, all in a painstaking effort to paint a more comprehensive picture of Europe’s best urban centers.

This year’s list of Europe’s 100 best cities (we’ll excerpt the top 10 below) considered 180 metropolitan centers with a population of 500,000 or more. Looking for some “spin the globe” inspiration for where to go next? You’ll find it here, from Aachen to Bratislava to Zurich.

How the best city rankings work

Livability: This category measures the quality of a place’s environment, both natural and built. Subcategories include walkability (the city’s walkability score on Walk Score), airport connectivity (the number of direct destinations served by the city’s airports), and higher education (the QS Rankings score of the top local university).

Lovability: The lovability pillar considers the vibrancy and quality of a city, as well as how much it inspires residents, businesses, and visitors to promote it. This includes culture (number of quality performing arts and cultural experiences recommended by locals and visitors according to Tripadvisor.com ), shopping (number of quality shopping experiences recommended by locals and visitors according to Tripadvisor.com ), and number of Instagram hashtags.

Prosperity: The prosperity pillar measures the strength of a city’s human capital. Subcategories include educational attainment (percentage of the population with a bachelor’s degree or higher), Fortune Global 500 companies (number of Fortune Global 500 corporate headquarters), convention center size (size of the largest convention center in a city), and poverty rate (percentage of the population living below the national poverty line).

Despite the continental pandemic recovery, urban populations across Europe are dealing with fresh crises: economic, environmental, and humanitarian. ”Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has scarred our rankings for the second year in a row,” says Fair. ”In our view, no city can be a ‘Best City’ if it is part of a country that is taking unprovoked action against another, and we have, once again, disqualified Moscow, St. Petersburg, and all other Russian cities from this year’s report.”

Here’s how Europe’s best cities ranked in the 2024 report, released March 5, 2024:

Big Ben and River Thames

London ranked No. 1 in culture and educational attainment.

Photo by S. Borisov/Shuterstock

1. London, England

Rankings: No. 1 in Culture and Educational Attainment *also World’s Best City of 2024

“London is rarely quiet these days,” says Resonance. Most of the Tube’s lines now run at its pre-pandemic cadence, with added metro stops like Bond Street’s Elizabeth station, opened in October 2022. Thanks to policies that give the United Kingdom the lowest corporate tax rate among G7 countries, London’s resilience has been “buoyed by a sinking currency that has attracted investment and, of course, previously priced-out tourists. And new residents . . . who can now afford to check off a big item on the multi-millionaire bucket list: property in the planet’s most coveted city,” Resonance says.

Why we love it: London’s main sights might date back millennia, but the capital’s shops, bars, hotels, and restaurants continue to evolve on an almost weekly basis. Whether you’re outdoorsy, hungry, or bringing a family in tow, there’s a distinct London neighborhood to investigate —and it will likely look different from your last visit. For new hotel options , there’s everything from the much-anticipated Raffles London at the OWO to the sustainability-meets-luxury–inspired 1 Hotel Mayfair .

Plan your next trip with AFAR’s Guide to London.

River boat on Seine near Eiffel Tower

Paris ranked No. 1 in sights/landmarks and global Fortune 500 companies.

Photo by Shutterstock

2. Paris, France

Rankings: No. 1 in Sights/Landmarks and Global Fortune 500 companies *Holding at no. 2

“The city remains the most visited on the planet, with 44 million visitors last year,” Resonance says. “Good thing Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport used the past three years of lower volume to invest €250 million into a renovation of Terminal 1. Reopened this year, it now has a colossal junction building and a central lobby full of the latest tech to improve the traveler experience. Rail access and infrastructure are also unprecedented. A seven-hour direct Berlin-to-Paris TGV line launches next year, with more ambitious directs like the Venice-to-Paris Midnight Trains coming in 2025. No matter how they arrive, what Paris visitors new and returning will find is a city that has codified pedestrianism and alfresco living.”

Why we love it: As Paris gears up for the 2024 Olympics, it’s only improving. Better infrastructure, a commitment to pedestrians, and luxurious hotels add to a city we love for its world-class art, shopping, and global cuisine.

Plan your next trip with AFAR’s Guide to Paris.

Colorful five-story buildings along street

Berlin climbed from No. 7 last year to No. 3 in 2024.

3. Berlin, Germany

Rankings: Startups (3), Culture (4), Nightlife (5) *Up from No. 7

No surprise here: Berlin ranked in the top five for Culture, Museums, and Nightlife, attracting visitors and residents alike with its “raw, unabashed urbanity and self-expression,” says Resonance. It has been a haven for Ukraine refugees as well as entrepreneurs looking to set up shop: According to Berlin Startup Map, the city currently has about 4,400 startups. “The talent is also attracting massive domestic and foreign investment into the city and its suburbs.”

Why we love it: Two major museums have moved into the new Humboldt Forum in the heart of the city: the Ethnological Museum and the Museum of Asian Art. A dozen other museums are set to open or have opened, with collections ranging from the world of the samurai to video games. Bonus: The European Sleeper night train (with lie-flat beds in cabins) now connects Berlin and Brussels via Amsterdam . It gets you from Berlin to Brussels in less than 12 hours.

Plan your next trip with AFAR’s Guide to Berlin.

View of Sant'Angelo Bridge and the Vatican

Visit Rome for the restaurants and a walk through history.

Photo by Chris Czermak on Unsplash

4. Rome, Italy

Rankings: Restaurants (1 - tie), TripAdvisor reviews (2) *Up from No. 8

“Few cities serve up the ability to walk Western history like Roma,” says Resonance, and “declarations of love for the city have multiplied with social media channels, of course, and Rome trails only London and Paris in our important Promotion category, including No. 2 for TripAdvisor Reviews. Mix in underrated parks and greenways (Rome ranks no. 8 in our Outdoors subcategory) and its thousands of portals back in time (Sights and Landmarks rank in the Top 3 in Europe) and it’s easy to see how Rome remains an urban treasure.”

Why we love it: Rome landed on AFAR’s “ Where to Go in 2024 ” list thanks to an influx of top-tier hotels, amenities, and restaurants. As Laura Itzkowitz reported , “Anantara is one of several hotel brands imbuing the city with a more international flair. Just in 2023, InterContinental , Bulgari , Edition , and Six Senses each debuted new properties in Rome. In the pipeline: hotels by Four Seasons , Rosewood , Nobu , and more. “Rome is coming out of a crazy year full of visitors and openings,” says Elisa Valeria Bove, CEO of the private tour company Roma Experience . “Before, people stayed in Rome for two or three days. Now people stay five, six days, or even a week.”

Plan your next trip with AFAR’s Guide to Rome.

An empty cobblestone street in a Madrid neighborhood

Madrid is bouncing back from the pandemic in a conscientious way.

Photo by Alex Vasey on Unsplash

5. Madrid, Spain

Rankings: Restaurants (1 - tie), Culture (3) *Up from No. 6

“Madrid, sometimes overlooked for Barcelona’s beaches and parties, is confidently telling its story these days,” says Resonance. “Perhaps the biggest news is Madrid’s beautiful measures to combat climate change and pollution, by way of a 76-kilometre urban forest network with nearly half a million new trees. . . . This ‘green wall’ is projected to help absorb 175,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year. The new Santander Park is an instant citizen and visitor destination (that used to be a golf course).”

Why we love it: On both our radar and Resonance’s are more than 20 new hotels and nearly 100 restaurants that have opened, or will open, in an already culture-rich city bouncing back from the pandemic in a big way—and in a conscientious way, reports Resonance: “Many of the high-end hotels are committed to reuse—from the Madrid Edition by Marriott International, housed in the old Monte de Piedad de Madrid building, to the stunning Metrópolis building’s new life as a boutique hotel, spa, private club and home of multiple restaurants.”

Plan your next trip with AFAR’s Guide to Madrid .

A bird's-eye view of the sun setting on Prague, with castle and bridge views

Prague ranks in the top 10 of lovability and livability.

Photo by William Zhang on Unsplash

6. Prague, Czechia

Rankings: Poverty Rate (1), Attractions (2) *New to the top 10

“Pandemic lockdowns broke the overtourism wave that was cresting over Prague’s beguiling Gothic streets, allowing the city to implement resident-first policies and maintain a sense of ownership. It’s a massive job in any city, much less one that threads the needle as one of the world’s rare urban centres that ranks in the Top 10 in both our overall Livability (#7) and Lovability (#8) indices. Still, over the past 18 months, city leaders made long-lasting decisions to ensure that Prague’s #3-ranked Museums (ahead of places like Berlin, Rome, and Madrid) and Attractions (which trail only London) remain accessible to the citizens who supported local when tourism didn’t.” Thanks to Prague’s youthfulness (university students from around the world descend here annually), much of the fun is affordable—and poverty rates are the lowest on the list.

Why we love it: Prague is complex and unfiltered in the best possible way. Step back in time to the city’s Bohemian past—the Old Town Square, St. Vitus Cathedral, Prague Castle, the romantic Charles Bridge—before visiting the somber memorial to its Communist rule. Prague seems to bask in modern optimism, as evidenced by such landmarks as Frank Gehry’s Dancing House Hotel and DOX Centre for Contemporary Art.

Plan your next trip with AFAR’s Guide to Prague.

View of city's rooftops from Gaudi Park Güell in Barcelona

Park Güell in Barcelona is a Gaudi highlight.

Photo by Luis Pina/Shutterstock

7. Barcelona, Spain

Rankings: Restaurants (1 - tied), Nightlife (2) *Down from No. 4

Barcelona is an almost ideal European city, with great weather year-round and “era-spanning neighborhoods that are destinations at all hours,” says Resonance. The big news this year is that Gaudi’s La Sagrada Familia is nearly finished (!), and the city “just opened its €50-million Consell de Cent, 21 pedestrianised blocks that used to be a four-lane cross-town street, part of what is being called a ‘green axis’ urban park in an area popular with both locals and visitors.”

Why we love it: This Spanish city is home to miles and miles of beaches , iconic parks, and Gaudí’s iconic architectural landmarks . But we could just as easily get lost in El Born and the Gothic Quarters’ labyrinths, looking for dumplings or the best Catalan restaurant.

Plan your next trip with AFAR’s Guide to Barcelona.

Street scene, featuring a woman biking, from a shop window in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is at the forefront of sustainable tourism.

Photo by Ériver Hijano

8. Amsterdam, Netherlands

Rankings: Labor Force Participation (3), Startups (5) *Down from No. 3

Amsterdam continues to be a city to keep an eye on, with its evolution “led by visionary mayor Femke Halsema (literally: she’s also a filmmaker), the first non-interim female mayor in the city’s history,” says Resonance. “Her administration’s practical stewardship of a place (and citizens) often abandoned to the tourist euro is co-authoring a future of accountability by everyone who calls the magnetic Dutch capital home.”

Why we love it : With nonstop flights from most U.S. cities, Amsterdam’s easy accessibility—and beautiful canals and world-class museums—make it a popular stop for any Euro trip. In addition to its top-notch cultural offerings, Amsterdam is on the forefront of sustainable tourism. In 2018, one hospitality company started to repurpose Amsterdam’s out-of-use bridge houses into charming stand-alone hotel rooms , and by 2030 all gas and diesel cars will be banned from the city.

Plan your next trip with AFAR’s Guide to Amsterdam.

The hotel's central location is ideal for first-time visitors who want to focus on historic attractions.

The Peninsula hotel’s central location is ideal for first-time visitors who want to focus on historic attractions.

Courtesy of The Peninsula Istanbul

9. Istanbul, Türkiye

Rankings: Restaurants (1 - tie), Airport Connectivity (3) *New to the top 10

“The ancient collision between Europe and Asia radiates in Türkiye’s (and Europe’s) largest city. It’s why the city is among the most beguiling for its sense of place, inside and out. Its Top 10 Sights and Landmarks ranking, as well as its impressive No. 4 spot in our Outdoors subcategory, will improve due to the extensive renovations completed for the Turkish Republic’s centennial in October 2023.”

Why we love it: Know someone who mentioned visiting Istanbul in 2023? We’re not surprised. Following a devastating earthquake in southeastern Türkiye in February 2023, the nation (and an active tourism arm) has rallied to make the country—and, by extension, its global hub, Istanbul—the most visited destination of 2023 . It helps that Istanbul has one of the best new airports in the world (IST). A recently reborn Galataport waterfront district—running a mile along the sparkling Bosporus Strait—now has an underground cruise terminal and high-end restaurants and hotels, including the much-celebrated Peninsula Istanbul.

Plan your next trip with AFAR’s Guide to Istanbul.

The sun rising behind the Duomo in Milan, Italy

Ouael Ben Salah/Unsplash

10. Milan, Italy

Rankings: Biking (4), EV Charging Stations (5) *New to the top 10

“The birthplace of Armani, Versace and dozens of other megawatt icons is no longer content with being Europe’s fashion and design center. Or even Italy’s financial heart. Milan is driven, as always, by its entrepreneurial hunger and is increasingly fueled by wealthy newcomers. This strategic proximity to other European capitals and alpine resorts pulling in the global elite also won the city the 2026 Olympic Winter Games and a rush of development that includes a long-awaited train link between Milan Bergamo Airport and the centro.”

Why we love it: Milan is incandescent—an extension of the creative spirit imbued here for centuries. It’s a city fully immersed in culture. Whether the art of the aperitivo , the spectacular art scene, or an amazing panorama of architecture that spans styles and millennia, Milan is an oasis of style, art, and architecture.

Plan your next trip with AFAR’s Guide to Milan .

To see the full list of Europe’s 100 best cities, visit worldsbestcities.com. Read on for the best cities in the U.S.

The Santiago Calatrava-designed Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge spans Dallas’ Trinity River.

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The Mindful Traveller

The Mindful Traveller

Eco Travel Blog & Photography

40 Best & Prettiest Cities to Visit in Europe

15 September 2023 · In: City Guide , Europe , Travel

best cities to visit in europe

Are you looking for the best and coolest cities to visit in Europe ? City lovers, you have come to the right place! This article walks you through 40 destinations to add to your bucket list for an unforgettable city break, whether you are travelling for a day trip, a weekend getaway or a week-long vacation.

Europe is a stunning place which has much to offer! From quaint Old Towns and peaceful nature to iconic historical sites and delicious local cuisine, you will find plenty of things to do and places to see during a city escape full of surprises and hidden gems.

Born in Paris and living in Manchester in the UK, I consider Europe my home, continuously exploring it and discovering something new. Each city has something exceptional to offer, and I am always surprised by their cultural diversity .

So, are you ready to discover the top 40 European cities that you must visit on your next city break ? Let’s get started! And, of course, let me know in the comments below if you have any other suggestions 🙂

Disclosure : Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning that at no additional cost to you, we will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase. For more information, please  read our full affiliate disclosure .

20- Tallinn, Estonia

20- bucharest, romania, overview: top cities to visit in europe, most iconic european cities.

  • Paris, France
  • London, England
  • Rome, Italy
  • Barcelona, Spain
  • Istanbul, Turkey
  • Lisbon, Portugal
  • Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Budapest, Hungary
  • Vienna, Austria
  • Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Prague, Czech Republic
  • Edinburgh, Scotland
  • Dubrovnik, Croatia
  • Reykjavik, Iceland
  • Athens, Greece
  • Stockholm, Sweden
  • Krakow, Poland
  • Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • Brussels, Belgium
  • Tallinn, Estonia

Other beautiful European cities

  • Florence, Italy
  • Porto, Portugal
  • Nice, France
  • Madrid, Spain
  • Salzburg, Austria
  • Oslo, Norway
  • Bruges, Belgium
  • Venice, Italy
  • Berlin, Germany
  • Helsinki, Finland
  • Seville, Spain
  • Strasbourg, France
  • Dublin, Ireland
  • Brasov, Romania
  • Annecy, France
  • Verona, Italy
  • Munich, Germany
  • Belgrade, Serbia
  • Bergen, Norway
  • Bucharest, Romania

best cities to visit in europe

Must-visit European cities – Map

Click on the top left of the map to display the list of stops and locations.

40 best cities to visit in Europe

1- paris, france.

It is impossible not to start with Paris as one of the best and most beautiful cities to visit in Europe! The magical capital of France is famous for its art, fashion, gastronomy and culture, and a must-see any time of the year. 

Having lived there for a while, I can easily say that Paris is a fascinating city to explore, full of surprises and hidden gems – and the perfect place for a romantic weekend getaway as a couple.

Wander its charming boulevards, stop at the terraces of one of its cafés, shop in designer boutiques or discover iconic landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower and the 12th-century Gothic Notre-Dame Cathedral.

READ MORE: 3 Magical Days in Paris: Complete Itinerary + Map

BEST THINGS TO DO & SEE IN PARIS

  • Climb up the Eiffel Tower
  • Tour the Louvre Museum
  • Stroll down the Champs-Élysées
  • Marvel at Notre-Dame Cathedral
  • Discover the Sainte-Chapelle
  • Wander around Montmartre
  • Spend a day at the Palace of Versailles
  • Relax at the Luxembourg Gardens
  • Catch a show at the Moulin Rouge
  • Enjoy the view from the Arc de Triomphe

PARIS OVERVIEW

🌤 Best time to visit: spring (April-May) and autumn (September-October) 🏨 Where to stay: Le Marais 🌿 Sustainable suggestion: take a  green boat tour  on the Seine River

UNFORGETTABLE EXPERIENCES I RECOMMEND

2- london, england.

London, the capital of England and the United Kingdom, is a captivating 21st-century city with a history stretching back to Roman times, worth the visit – for all kinds of travellers and all ages.

Home to many fun attractions and historic monuments, the English capital is a perfect blend of traditional and modern and the ideal place for a deeper insight into British culture.

Walk in the footsteps of royalty at Kensington Palace, enjoy a 360-degree panorama of the capital from the London Eye, watch the Change of the Guard at Buckingham Palace and stop by Covent Garden for a shopping spree.

READ MORE: 3 Perfect Days in London: Complete Itinerary

BEST THINGS TO DO & SEE IN LONDON

  • Take a photo of Big Ben
  • Visit the Westminster Abbey
  • Relax at James’s Park
  • Marvel at Buckingham Palace
  • Tour the British Museum
  • Hop on the London Eye
  • Walk across Tower Bridge
  • Explore Kensington Palace
  • Stroll through Borough Market
  • Discover the Tower of London

LONDON OVERVIEW

🌤 Best time to visit: spring (May-June) and autumn (September-October) 🏨 Where to stay: Covent Garden 🌿 Sustainable suggestion: catch a carbon-neutral  theatre show  

3- Rome, Italy

Rome, the Eternal City and capital of Italy, is a charming city to visit in Europe, filled with history, culture and art. With its ancient ruins, inspiring architecture and delicious cuisine, you will undoubtedly have a great vacation.

I visited Rome in December, and it is still today one of my favourite European cities to explore for a few days. I was amazed by its atmosphere and loved learning more about its past. 

Whether you want to wander through the imposing ruins of the Colosseum, be captivated by the art of Vatican City or lose yourself in the narrow streets of the bohemian Trastevere, Rome has something for everyone.

READ MORE: 5 Perfect Days in Rome, Italy: Complete Itinerary

BEST THINGS TO DO & SEE IN ROME

  • Visit the Colosseum
  • Marvel at the Forums
  • Admire the Trevi Fountain
  • Tour the Vatican Museum
  • Explore St Peter’s Basilica
  • Enter the Pantheon
  • Relax at Villa Borghese
  • Stroll through Piazza Navona
  • Shop at Piazza di Spagna
  • Discover Castel Sant’Angelo

ROME OVERVIEW

🌤 Best time to visit: spring (March-April) and autumn (September- November) 🏨 Where to stay: Centro Storico 🌿 Sustainable suggestion: explore Rome by night on an  e-bike tour

4- Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona, the historic capital of the Catalonia region, is known for its unique art and architecture, the incredible Sagrada Família church and other modernist landmarks designed by Antoni Gaudí.

Set between the mountains and sea, the city is full of captivating museums, fun attractions, sandy beaches and thriving restaurants. It has everything to be a must-visit destination in Europe.

Wander through its Gothic Quarter, explore its Picasso Museum, stroll down La Rambla or enjoy the stunning views from the top of Montjuic. You might have guessed, there is plenty to do for all travellers, from families with children to football fans.

BEST THINGS TO DO & SEE IN BARCELONA

  • Visit the Sagrada Família
  • Explore Park Güell
  • Stroll through the Gothic Quarter
  • Wander La Boqueria food market
  • Enjoy the sun at the city beaches
  • Climb up Montjuïc
  • Join an authentic tapas tour
  • Visit Gaudí’s two casas
  • Watch a game at Camp Nou
  • Tour the Picasso Museum

BARCELONA OVERVIEW

🌤 Best time to visit: spring (April-May) and autumn (September-October) 🏨 Where to stay: The Gothic Quarter (Barri Gòtic) 🌿 Sustainable suggestion: hike the  Botanical trail  in Montjuïc

5- Istanbul, Turkey

Welcome to Istanbul, a stunning city in Turkey straddling Europe and Asia and a cosmopolitan destination packed with a fascinating history, intricate architecture and trendy neighbourhoods.

As you walk through the streets of the city, you will immerse yourself in the cultural influences of the many empires that once ruled here, from the Sultanahmet district and its open-air Roman-era Hippodrome to the iconic Byzantine Hagia Sophia, with its high 6th-century dome and Christian mosaics. 

Whether you are visiting for a weekend getaway or a 3-day trip, you will not run out of ideas for things to do in this charming Turkish city – even on a budget.

BEST THINGS TO DO & SEE IN ISTANBUL

  • Wander the Grand Bazar
  • Discover the Blue Mosque
  • Visit the Hagia Sophia Mosque
  • Climb up the Galata Tower
  • Explore the Dolmabahçe Palace
  • Shop for spices at the Egyptian Bazar
  • Explore the Topkapı Palace
  • Taste delicious Turkish Coffee
  • Relax at a hammam
  • Stroll down Istiklal Avenue

ISTANBUL OVERVIEW

🌤 Best time to visit: spring (April-May) and autumn (September-October) 🏨 Where to stay: Sultanahmet 🌿 Sustainable suggestion: explore Istanbul on a fun  Twizy Tour

6- Lisbon, Portugal

Another great city you should not miss on a trip to Europe is Lisbon, the hilly and coastal capital of Portugal. With good access to the rest of the world and its rich history, this sophisticated city is a fantastic destination for a long weekend escape – as a solo traveller or with friends! 

Enjoy the view from the imposing São Jorge Castle, stroll along pastel-coloured buildings, hop on a tram ride or climb up the Santa Justa elevator. You will not get bored. 

In addition, do not forget to explore the nearby beaches and towns, from Cascais to Estoril, and, of course, the magical Sintra, which is worth a day trip. Lisbon is perfect for a mix of sightseeing and sea activities.

BEST THINGS TO DO & SEE IN LISBON

  • Climb to the Castle of São Jorge 
  • Stroll through Alfama
  • Go up in the Santa Justa elevator
  • Visit the Belém Tower
  • Tour the Jerónimos Monastery
  • Hop on a tram ride on the no. 28
  • Take a day trip to Sintra
  • Listen to a Fado concert
  • Taste a traditional Ginjinha
  • Check out the best miradouros (viewpoints)

LISBON OVERVIEW

🌤 Best time to visit: spring (March-May) and autumn (September-October) 🏨 Where to stay: Baixa 🌿 Sustainable suggestion: take a  tile painting class  with a local artist

7- Amsterdam, Netherlands

Do you fancy a picturesque weekend in the Netherlands? Then, add Amsterdam to the list of best cities to visit in Europe as a charming destination known for its artistic heritage, winding canals and narrow houses with intricate facades, a legacy of the 17th-century Golden Age of the city.

Other than its rich history, flower markets and indie coffee shops, Amsterdam is also a city full of art and culture, from the Van Gogh Museum and the Rijksmuseum with works of Rembrandt to the Stedelijk showcasing modern art.

And for a dose of exercise, hop on a bike and explore the numerous cycling trails leading you to the main attractions and landmarks.

BEST THINGS TO DO & SEE IN AMSTERDAM

  • Visit the Van Gogh Museum
  • Cycle around the city
  • Stroll through Vondelpark
  • See the Anne Frank House
  • Explore the Rijksmuseum
  • Head to the Bloemenmarkt
  • Wander the Jordaan district
  • Discover Hortus Botanicus
  • Go on a canal cruise at night
  • Enjoy the view from A’dam Lookout

AMSTERDAM OVERVIEW

🌤 Best time to visit: spring (April-May) and autumn (September-November) 🏨 Where to stay: City Center 🌿 Sustainable suggestion: go  plastic fishing  on a canal cruise

8- Budapest, Hungary

Budapest, the capital of Hungary, is a stunning city divided by the River Danube and a must-visit destination for its art nouveau architecture, quirky ruin bars and relaxing public baths.

Not always known as a tourist hotspot, the city is worth the detour. Walk across its 19th-century Chain Bridge, admire the 13th-century Matthias Church or enjoy spectacular views from the turrets of the Fishermen’s Bastion.

Whether you are looking for a tranquil weekend getaway with spas and bars or an active few days filled with vibrant nightlife, Budapest has it all.

BEST THINGS TO DO & SEE IN BUDAPEST

  • Admire the Parliament Building
  • See the Shoes on the Danube
  • Tour Buda Castle
  • Visit the St. Stephen’s Basilica
  • Relax at Széchenyi Thermal Bath
  • Walk across the Széchenyi Chain Bridge
  • Taste a delicious Goulash
  • Explore the Fisherman’s Bastion
  • Ride the Buda Hill Funicular
  • Discover Vajdahunyad Castle

BUDAPEST OVERVIEW

🌤 Best time to visit: spring (March-May) and autumn (September-November) 🏨 Where to stay: Belváros – Lipótváros (District V) 🌿 Sustainable suggestion: go on a  kayaking tour  on the Danube

9- Vienna, Austria

Welcome to Vienna, the capital of Austria, located along the Danube River and blessed with an artistic and intellectual heritage shaped by renowned residents, including Mozart and Beethoven.

With its rich cultural heritage, charming neighbourhoods and unparalleled beauty, it is one of the most picturesque cities in Europe and a destination to add to your bucket list. 

It is also a fantastic place to explore for any art and royal history lover, as you will come across influential Imperial palaces such as the Schönbrunn and the Belvedere. So get ready for an unforgettable city break!

READ MORE: Vienna Travel Guide: Perfect 3-Day Itinerary

BEST THINGS TO DO & SEE IN VIENNA

  • See the Hofburg Palace
  • Explore the Austrian National Library
  • Discover the Schönbrunn Palace
  • Tour the Belvedere Palace
  • Admire Stephen’s Cathedral
  • Wander through the Ferstel Passage
  • Marvel at the Karlskirche
  • Shop at the Naschmarkt
  • Hop on the Giant Ferris Wheel
  • Visit the Albertina Museum

VIENNA OVERVIEW

🌤 Best time to visit: summer (June-August) 🏨 Where to stay: Central Vienna (Innere Stadt) 🌿 Sustainable suggestion: make your own  eco-friendly Viennese souvenir

10- Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen, the incredible capital of Denmark, is a place you should not miss on a trip to Europe. From the Old Town and picturesque harbour to the eclectic Freetown Christiania and the Renaissance-era Rosenborg Castle, there is an attraction for everyone.

Hop on a bike and start exploring the city at your own pace. Get lost in its cobbled streets filled with colourful and narrow houses, stop at a coffee shop or head to the coast to spot the Little Mermaid. 

Whether you are visiting for a weekend getaway or an extended summer vacation, you will find plenty of activities to fully soak up the local atmosphere of the Danish capital.

READ MORE: Copenhagen City Guide: Perfect 3-Day Itinerary

BEST THINGS TO DO & SEE IN COPENHAGEN

  • Wander the Nyhavn district
  • Explore the Botanical Garden
  • Visit the Rosenborg Castle
  • Enjoy the views from the Round Tower
  • Marvel at the Frederick Church
  • Have fun in the Tivoli Gardens
  • See the Christiansborg Palace
  • Discover Freetown Christiania
  • Tour Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek
  • Climb the Church of Our Saviour

COPENHAGEN OVERVIEW

🌤 Best time to visit: summer (April-September) 🏨 Where to stay: Strøget 🌿 Sustainable suggestion: swim at the  Islands Brygge Harbour Bath

11- Prague, Czech Republic

If you have not already been, it is time to plan a trip to Prague, the beautiful capital of the Czech Republic, divided by the Vltava River. It is the ideal destination for a short weekend getaway with friends, especially if you like beers.  

Also known as the City of a Hundred Spires, the capital is famous for its Old Town Square, the heart of its historic centre, with colourful Baroque buildings, Gothic churches and the medieval Astronomical Clock, which puts on a lively spectacle every day. But plan your visit early to avoid the crowds.

I loved my time in Prague and was truly surprised. The diversity of its architecture is remarkable and worth discovering: a paradise for art and history lovers – and photographers!

READ MORE: Prague Travel Guide: Perfect 3-Day Itinerary

BEST THINGS TO DO & SEE IN PRAGUE

  • Wander the Old Town Square
  • Admire the Astronomical Clock
  • Enjoy the views from the Old Town Hall 
  • Climb up the Powder Tower
  • Walk across Charles Bridge
  • Explore Prague Castle
  • Stop by the Vitus Cathedral
  • Discover the Strahov Monastery
  • Have a picnic on Petřín hill 
  • Photograph the Dancing House

PRAGUE OVERVIEW

🌤 Best time to visit: spring (April-May) and autumn (September-October) 🏨 Where to stay: Old Town (Staré Město) 🌿 Sustainable suggestion: hop on the  historic tram line  number 42 

12- Edinburgh, Scotland

Welcome to Edinburgh, the fascinating capital of Scotland and a popular city in Europe. From the magnificent castle to the hidden underworld to the birthplace of Harry Potter, this magical destination has plenty to offer.

Walk through its medieval Old Town, wander its elegant Georgian New Town with gardens and neoclassical buildings, hike up to Arthur’s Seat for spectacular views or enjoy a peaceful sunset from Carlton Hill. 

I visited Edinburgh multiple times, and I never get tired of it! Its architecture and atmosphere are so special and unique, and the locals are full of kindness. It is a city (and country) that I highly recommend you visit.

READ MORE: 3 Magical Days in Edinburgh: City Itinerary

BEST THINGS TO DO & SEE IN EDINBURGH

  • Discover Edinburgh Castle
  • Walk down the Royal Mile
  • Hike up Arthur’s Seat
  • Watch the sunset from Calton Hill
  • Tour Holyrood Palace & Holyrood Abbey
  • Stop by the Scotch Whisky Experience
  • Visit the Camera Obscura & World of Illusions
  • Enjoy the view from the Scott Monument
  • Explore the National Museum of Scotland
  • Wander the Royal Botanic Gardens

EDINBURGH OVERVIEW

🌤 Best time to visit: summer (May-September) 🏨 Where to stay: Old Town (The Royal Mile) 🌿 Sustainable suggestion: sightsee with a local on a  unique tour

13- Dubrovnik, Croatia

Dubrovnik is a beautiful city in southern Croatia on the Adriatic Sea, famous for its medieval Old Town surrounded by stone walls, breathtaking landscapes, stunning beaches and being one of the filming locations of the Game of Thrones series.

Among its well-preserved buildings, you will find the baroque St. Blaise Church, the Renaissance Sponza Palace and the Gothic Rector’s Palace, now a history museum. And paved with limestone, do not miss the Stradun, lined with shops and restaurants.

Finally, spend time outdoors and enjoy the sea with plenty of water activities, from swimming to scuba diving and sea kayaking. You guessed it, Dubrovnik is the perfect destination for travellers looking for a beach holiday with a cultural experience.

BEST THINGS TO DO & SEE IN DUBROVNIK

  • Walk the City Walls
  • Stroll around the Old Town
  • Enjoy a coffee at the Stradun
  • Ride the cable car to Mount Srd
  • Explore Fort Lovrijenac
  • Visit the Rector’s Palace
  • Take a boat to Lokrum island
  • Go sea kayaking
  • Relax on one of its beaches
  • See the War Photo Limited

DUBROVNIK OVERVIEW

🌤 Best time to visit: spring (April-June) and autumn (September-October) 🏨 Where to stay: Old Town 🌿 Sustainable suggestion: go underwater on a  scuba diving experience

14- Reykjavik, Iceland

You will find Reykjavik on the coast of Iceland, the capital of the country and largest city. From quirky museums and whale-watching excursions to unforgettable wilderness expeditions, a trip to the Icelandic capital is an experience you will never forget.

Take the time to explore the city as you come across the National and Saga museums tracing the Viking history of Iceland, the astonishing concrete Hallgrimskirkja Church and the rotating Perlan glass dome offering breathtaking views of the sea and nearby hills.  

And, of course, a trip to Reykjavik could not be complete without a stop at the geothermal Blue Lagoon spa, one of the most popular attractions in Iceland, displaying the fascinating volcanic activity of the island.

READ MORE: Reykjavík City Guide: Perfect 3-Day Itinerary

BEST THINGS TO DO & SEE IN REYKJAVIK

  • Relax in the Blue Lagoon
  • Explore the Harpa Concert Hall
  • Enjoy the view from Hallgrimskirkja 
  • Admire the Imagine Peace Tower
  • Go whale watching
  • Bathe at the Sky Lagoon
  • Chase the northern lights
  • Visit the National Museum
  • See the Sun Voyager sculpture
  • Go on a Golden Circle tour

REYKJAVIK OVERVIEW

🌤 Best time to visit: summer (May-September) 🏨 Where to stay: Downtown (Miðborg) 🌿 Sustainable suggestion: go on a scenic  horse riding tour

15- Athens, Greece

Athens, the capital of Greece, is one of the oldest cities in the world, with a history spanning 3,400 years. Filled with archaeological treasures, it is no surprise that you will find plenty of things to do and see in this fascinating city. 

Dominated by landmarks from the 5th century BC, including the Acropolis, a hilltop citadel completed with ancient buildings like the collonaded Parthenon temple, Athens is an incredible European destination to learn more about the past and immerse yourself in history. 

In addition, do not hesitate to enjoy the sea by relaxing at the beach, going on a snorkelling excursion or hopping on a sailing boat at sunset – what could be more romantic?

BEST THINGS TO DO & SEE IN ATHENS

  • Climb to the Acropolis
  • See Hadrian’s Library
  • Visit the Acropolis Museum
  • Explore the Benaki Museum
  • Watch a film in an open-air cinema
  • Relax at the beach
  • Discover the Ancient Agora
  • Wander the Plaka district
  • Stop by the Monastiraki Square
  • Go on a sailing trip

ATHENS OVERVIEW

🌤 Best time to visit: spring (April-May) and autumn (September-October) 🏨 Where to stay: Plaka 🌿 Sustainable suggestion: enjoy nature at the  Zagorochoria National Park

16- Stockholm, Sweden

Welcome to Stockholm, the capital of Sweden and one of the coolest European cities to explore, encompassing 14 islands and over 50 bridges across a vast archipelago in the Baltic Sea. You will find many incredible things to do in the city for a weekend getaway or week-long trip.

Explore the cobblestone streets and ochre-coloured buildings of Gamla Stan (Old Town), home to the 13th-century Storkyrkan Cathedral, the Kungliga Slottet Royal Palace and the Nobel Museum. 

And for any nature lover out there, Stockholm is the destination for you. Enjoy the outdoors and get closer to nature by going on an island hopping trip or joining a kayaking expedition. 

BEST THINGS TO DO & SEE IN STOCKHOLM

  • Visit the Skansen Open Air Museum 
  • Wander the Gamla Stan
  • Explore the ABBA Museum
  • Go on a canal boat tour
  • Discover the Royal Palace
  • Admire the City Hall
  • Tour the Vasa Museum
  • Relax at the Royal National City Park
  • Take a dip in Lake Mälaren
  • Stop by the Drottningholms Palace

STOCKHOLM OVERVIEW

🌤 Best time to visit: summer (May-September) 🏨 Where to stay: Gamla Stan (Old Town) 🌿 Sustainable suggestion: explore the Archipelago on a  kayak expedition  

17- Kraków, Poland

Kraków is a charming city in Poland located near the border of the Czech Republic, known for its well-preserved medieval core and Jewish quarter. With its impressive market square, colourful streets, historical landmarks and vibrant bars, Kraków is a must-see on a European road trip.

Explore its Old Town surrounded by Planty Park and the remnants of medieval walls and stop by Rynek Glówny (Market Square), where you will discover the Cloth Hall, a Renaissance trading outpost, and St. Mary’s Basilica, a 14th-century Gothic church. 

Besides a rich culture that includes fascinating castles, museums and detailed architecture, Kraków is also the place to be for its nightlife, trendy bars and diversity of restaurants.

BEST THINGS TO DO & SEE IN KRAKÓW

  • Wander around Rynek Główny
  • Uncover Rynek Underground Museum
  • Shop in the Cloth Hall
  • Climb up the Town Hall Tower
  • Explore St Mary’s Basilica
  • Visit Wawel Royal Castle
  • Explore Wawel Cathedral
  • Stop by the Old Synagogue
  • Stroll around Planty Park
  • Take a tour of Auschwitz

KRAKÓW OVERVIEW

🌤 Best time to visit: spring (March-May) and autumn (September-November) 🏨 Where to stay: Stare Miasto (Old Town) 🌿 Sustainable suggestion: enjoy a relaxing day at the  Bagry Lagoon

18- Ljubljana, Slovenia

You will find Ljubljana in Slovenia, the capital of the country and the largest city, known as one of the greenest and most liveable capitals in Europe, being the European Green Capital in 2016.

You will find no car traffic in the centre, leafy riverbanks along the Ljubljanica River that runs through the city, plenty of cyclists and green spaces, including the vast Tivoli Park. And in summer, you can enjoy outdoor events, cafés with terraces set up along the river and fun street parties.

Finally, for any art and history lover, Ljubljana has many museums to suit your taste, including the National Museum of Slovenia, which features historical exhibitions, and the Museum of Modern Art, home to 20th-century Slovene paintings and sculptures. 

BEST THINGS TO DO & SEE IN LJUBLJANA

  • Explore the city centre
  • Wander Prešeren Square
  • Go dragon hunting
  • Relax in Tivoli Park
  • Discover Ljubljana Castle
  • Stop by the Central Market
  • Go paddleboarding on the river
  • Admire Ljubljana Cathedral
  • Walk across Dragon Bridge
  • Visit The National Gallery

LJUBLJANA OVERVIEW

🌤 Best time to visit: spring (April-May) and autumn (September-October) 🏨 Where to stay: Old Town 🌿 Sustainable suggestion: stand up  paddle-board  on Ljubljanica river

19- Brussels, Belgium

Brussels might not be a city we think about often, but it is worth the visit. The fascinating capital of Belgium is filled with lovely architecture and captivating history. And if the city is mainly known as the administrative centre of the European Union, there is plenty to do and see on a weekend getaway. 

Explore its historical centre, where you will encounter the stunning Grand Palace, and get lost in its picturesque streets to uncover more unusual attractions such as the Atomium.

And for any foodie lover, you have come to the right place! From mussels and fries to chocolate and waffles, you will return home with your stomach satisfied and your head full of memories.

BEST THINGS TO DO & SEE IN BRUSSELS

  • Be amazed by the Grand Place
  • Discover the Old England Building
  • Visit Notre Dame Du Sablon Church
  • Admire Le Botanique
  • Explore the Royal Palace
  • See the Manneken Pis
  • Tour the Royal Museums of Fine Arts
  • Relax in the Parc Du Cinquantenaire
  • Enjoy the views from the Atomium
  • Shop at the Royal Gallery of Saint Hubert

BRUSSELS OVERVIEW

🌤 Best time to visit: spring (March-May) and autumn (September-October) 🏨 Where to stay: Historical City Centre 🌿 Sustainable suggestion: join a unique  forest bathing workshop

Tallinn is the capital of Estonia on the Baltic Sea and the cultural hub of the country. Lively yet peaceful, get your camera ready as you explore its picturesque streets packed with beautiful sights.

Discover its walled and cobblestoned Old Town home to cafés and shops, stop at the Kiek in de Kök, a 15th-century defensive tower and visit its Gothic Town Hall, built in the 13th century on the historic main square.

Tallinn is a perfect holiday destination if you want to combine versatile nightlife and luxurious adventures with a rich cultural scene in a historical setting. Plus, do not forget to try delicious local dishes!

BEST THINGS TO DO & SEE IN TALLINN

  • Walk through Viru Gate
  • Wander the Old Town
  • Explore Tallinn Town Hall
  • Walk down St. Catherine’s Passage 
  • Visit Alexander Nevsky Cathedral
  • Tour the Lennusadam Maritime Museum
  • Enjoy the views from Tallinn TV Tower
  • Relax in Kadriorg Park
  • See St Olaf’s church
  • Discover Kiek in de Kök

TALLINN OVERVIEW

🌤 Best time to visit: summer (May-August) 🏨 Where to stay: Old Town (Vanalinn) 🌿 Sustainable suggestion: venture on the  Mukri Bog  nature trail

1- Florence, Italy

Florence (Firenze), the capital of the Tuscany region, is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, home to many masterpieces of Renaissance art and architecture – and one of my favourite cities in Italy!

Savour gourmet Tuscan cuisine, visit the iconic Duomo by Brunelleschi, stop by the Galleria dell’Accademia to see the David sculpture by Michelangelo and tour the Uffizi Gallery to admire  The Birth of Venus  by Botticelli.

READ MORE: Florence Travel Guide: Epic 3-Day Itinerary

2- Porto, Portugal

Porto is a charming coastal and World Heritage city in northwest Portugal, known for its superb bridges and its production of Port wine, shipped from here around the world.

Full of heritage and culture, take the time to wander its narrow cobbled streets filled with cafés and shops, stop by the São Francisco Church famous for its splendid Baroque interior, and discover the magnificent 19th-century Palácio de Bolsa.

3- Nice, France

If you are looking for a relaxing vacation under the sun, add Nice to your bucket list. Located on the French Rivera, the city boasts a blend of luxury, year-round sunshine, vibrant nightlife and an ideal seaside location. 

Aside from its status as a beach holiday destination, Nice is also a place full of art and culture, home to the Matisse Museum and Marc Chagall Museum, housing some major religious works. 

READ MORE: South of France Road Trip: 1-Week Itinerary

4- Madrid, Spain

Madrid, the capital of Spain, is a vibrant city full of diversity and one of the most interesting cities in Europe with its elegant boulevards, lush green parks, renowned museums, bustling streets packed with shops, bars and restaurants and an unstoppable nightlife.

In addition, the Spanish city is famous for its rich collections of European art, including the Prado Museum, home to works by Goya, Velázquez and other influential Spanish masters.

5- Salzburg, Austria

Salzburg is an Austrian city located on the border of Germany with stunning views of the Eastern Alps, the perfect stop on a European road trip. Divided by the Salzach River, you will find medieval and baroque buildings of the Old City on its left bank and the 19th-century New City on its right.

Whether you are a music lover eager to learn more about the birthplace of composer Mozart or an adventure enthusiast who finds joy in nature through skiing or hiking, the Australian city has something for everyone.

6- Oslo, Norway

Oslo, the capital of Norway, is a bustling city located on the south coast of the country on the Oslofjord, offering a variety of fun activities and sights, whether you are into culture, history or nature.

Walk through its neighbourhoods featuring contemporary architecture and small shops, cafés, restaurants and bars, enjoy the sun in the many green areas, or join a fjord cruise to discover beautiful beaches and stunning island landscapes.

7- Bruges, Belgium

Bruges is a fairytale town in Belgium worth the visit as one of the best-preserved cities in Europe, characterised by its picturesque canals, winding cobbled streets, historic churches and medieval buildings. 

Step back in time as you stroll through its Old Town and come across the 14th-century City Hall and the 13th-century Market Square, and stop for a well-deserved break to enjoy a traditional meal accompanied by a local beer. 

8- Venice, Italy

It is impossible not to mention Venice as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, built on more than 100 small islands in a lagoon in the Adriatic Sea. Here, you will find no roads but only canals lined with Renaissance and Gothic palaces. 

Lose yourself in its narrow streets, enjoy a shot of expresso and stop at the Piazza San Marco to admire St. Mark’s Basilica, tiled with Byzantine mosaics, and the Campanile bell tower offering breathtaking views.

READ MORE: 3 Perfect Days in Venice, Italy: Complete Itinerary

9- Berlin, Germany

Berlin, the capital of Germany, is a diverse city anchored in history. As a reminder of its turbulent 20th-century past, you will come across the Holocaust Memorial and the Berlin Wall with graffitied remains.

Also known for its art scene and modern landmarks, the German city is the perfect destination for a short weekend getaway with friends or young adults thanks to its rich culture, innovative architecture, delicious cuisine and vibrant parties.

10- Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki, the capital of Finland, is a charming city worth the detour, where quirky urbanity meets peaceful nature. Brimming with great food, stunning design, fascinating museums and unique architecture, you find plenty to do and see on a short vacation.

And if nature is your thing, wander the islands of its archipelago, join a kayaking expedition, swim in its natural pools or relax in one of its traditional saunas – you will, without a doubt, return home rejuvenated.

READ MORE: Helsinki Travel Guide: Perfect 3-Day Itinerary

11- Seville, Spain

Seville, the capital and largest city of Andalusia, is a city full of life and energy, with its Flamenco clubs continuing a centuries-old tradition and its aristocratic residences reflecting the past of the city as a Moorish capital.

Stroll through Barrio Santa Cruz, stop at the Seville Cathedral or climb the Giralda Tower for fantastic views. Whether you are interested in tapas or history, you will never get bored in this Andalusian city! 

READ MORE: 20 Best Summer Destinations in Europe

12- Strasbourg, France

Strasbourg is a lovely city in Alsace in northeastern France, with culture and architecture blending German and French influences. If the city is officially known as the seat of the European Parliament, it has so much more to offer.

Explore its picturesque streets and visit its Gothic Cathédrale Notre-Dame, offering daily shows from its astronomical clock and spectacular views of the Rhine River. Between its medieval past and its progressive future, Strasbourg is a city that will captivate you!

Note – Strasbourg is a top winter city break famous for its Christmas market (Christkindelsmärik), one of the best in Europe.

13- Dublin, Ireland

Welcome to Dublin, the capital of the Republic of Ireland, a friendly city full of life. Framed by mountains and centred on the River Liffey, the city is packed with vibrant art, historic buildings, trendy cafés and traditional Irish pubs. 

Walk down the streets as you feel the lively energy of the city through its bustling boutiques, Viking past and green parks hosting markets and festivals. And for a dose of history, explore Dublin Castle and visit the impressive St Patrick’s Cathedral.

14- Brașov, Romania

Bordered by the peaks of the Southern Carpathian Mountains and shining with Gothic, Baroque and Renaissance architecture, Brașov is one of the most beautiful and visited places in Romania.

Known for its medieval Saxon walls and bastions, the tall Gothic-style Black Church and its lively cafés, the city welcomes you with a peaceful atmosphere and rich history. On your city break, also take the time to wander through the Piaţa Sfatului, the quaint Old Town surrounded by colourful Baroque buildings.

15- Annecy, France

Annecy is a pretty Alpine town in southeastern France, where Lake Annecy flows into the Thiou River. Known for its Vieille Ville (Old Town) with picturesque cobbled streets, winding canals and pastel-coloured houses, it is the ideal location for a romantic weekend getaway.

Hop on a bike and explore Lake Annecy, visit the medieval Annecy Castle overlooking the city for a dose of history or wander through the Old Town for picture-perfect scenery worth the detour. 

16- Verona, Italy

Verona is a UNESCO World Heritage city in northern Italy, famous for being the setting of  Romeo and Juliet  by Shakespeare. As a place of history, culture, music and architecture, you will never run out of ideas for things to do. 

Walk through the medieval Old Town built between the curve of the Adige River to discover the 14th-century residence with a tiny balcony overlooking a courtyard, and the Verona Arena, an imposing 1st-century Roman amphitheatre, hosting concerts and opera performances.

17- Munich, Germany

Munich, the capital of Bavaria, is a city where traditional meets modern, home to century-old buildings and countless museums. Also known for its annual Oktoberfest celebration and beer gardens, the German city offers many opportunities for a fun weekend with friends. 

Enjoy a shopping spree, wander around the beautiful Marienplatz square containing iconic landmarks such as Neo-Gothic Neues Rathaus (Town Hall) or organise a road trip to the German Alps for a dose of nature. 

READ MORE: 16 Best Places to Visit in Bavaria, Germany

18- Belgrade, Serbia

Belgrade, the capital of the southeast European country of Serbia, is a fascinating city to explore, filled with a rich and intense past. Whether you are visiting for a weekend trip or a week-long vacation, you will find plenty of things to do and see.

One of its most significant landmarks is the Beogradska Tvrđava, an imposing fortress testifying to the strategic implication of the city to the Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, Serbian and Austrian empires, now home to several museums.

19- Bergen, Norway

Bergen is a charming city and a UNESCO World Heritage site you will find on the southwestern coast of Norway. Situated at the top of Ulriken, surrounded by the sea, mountains and fjords, it is also known as  the capital of the fjords .

Explore its narrow cobbled streets filled with traditional shops and colourful wooden houses, take the Fløibanen Funicular to go up the Fløyen Mountain for panoramic views and hiking trails or join a boat cruise to discover the Sognefjord, the deepest and longest fjord in the country.

Note – if you visit the city in December, you might have the chance to see the Northern Lights!

READ MORE: 3 Magical Days in Bergen: Complete Itinerary

Bucharest is a dynamic and fun city in Romania worth the visit, even though it is not a destination we often think about. From captivating museums to green parks and trendy cafés, there is an activity for everyone. 

Take the time to explore the historic Lipscani district, home to vibrant nightlife, the small Eastern Orthodox Stavropoleos Church and the 15th-century Curtea Veche Palace, where Prince Vlad III once ruled.

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Tips for reducing your impact in Europe

Sustainable travel  means exploring the world whilst being aware of your surroundings and having a positive social, environmental and economic impact on the places you visit.

Being a responsible traveller whilst exploring Europe is possible! Here are some  sustainable tips for reducing your carbon footprint :

  • Use green methods of transport . Use public transport as much as possible to travel to and from your destination (train or coach). Europe has a fantastic transport network that can take you anywhere, even on a budget. Once at your destination, prioritise walking or cycling as much as possible.
  • Select an eco-friendly accommodation . It is not always easy to determine whether a hotel has eco-conscious practices, but try to look on their website for green credentials and ask questions. You can also use  Bookdifferent  or  Ecobnb  to help you decide. And if you like nature and the outdoors, why not organise a camping trip?
  • Shop local & eat at local restaurants  that use produce from the region. It will contribute to the local economy and reduce your carbon footprint by supporting restaurants where food does not come from long distances.
  • Treat the landscapes and wildlife with respect .   Do not come close to animals, do not feed them and respect their home. Always pay attention to where you walk or cycle (or drive if you rent a car).
  • Bring a  reusable filtered water bottle  with you . It will help avoid buying single-use plastic bottles that will be wasted. Instead, refill your water bottle wherever you can – at a fountain or river! It will also help you save money and stay hydrated on the go.
  • Do not leave a trace . Do not litter, and pick up any trash you encounter. Leftover waste can be extremely harmful to the local ecosystem. So, once again, be zero waste and take your garbage with you. 
  • Always respect the local heritage . Treat people and their surroundings with respect. Sustainable travel is not only about the environment but also about the local communities. So, always be respectful and smile!

More inspiration for your green vacation:

  • Best Travel Apps for Exploring Sustainably
  • 15 Travel Books to Inspire Your Next Eco-Adventure
  • Best Ecotourism Activities Around the World

Eco-friendly gear you might love:

  • 10 Best Sustainable Backpacks for Travel & Hiking
  • 10 Best Reusable & Eco-Friendly Travel Mugs
  • 8 Best Filtered Water Bottles for Travel & Hiking

Check out  this page  for more inspiration on eco-friendly products & gear.

sustainable travel checklist

Best European cities – FAQ

The best city to visit in Europe for first-time visitors is Paris. The French capital will offer you a great insight into European art, culture and history. It is also an ideal destination for a couple weekend getaway.

I would say Florence, Italy. The Italian capital of Tuscany is considered one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and the world, home to many masterpieces of Renaissance art and architecture.

The most visited places and attractions in Europe are the Louvre, the Colosseum, the Sagrada Familia and Buckingham Palace – all stunning landmarks worth the detour.

best cities to visit in europe

And you, what is your favourite city to visit in Europe? Let me know in the comments below!

With love ♡ Lucie

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The 15 Best Cities to Visit in Europe in 2024

By Soren Rivero

Taking a European vacation is an exhilarating prospect, with a multitude of captivating cities vying for your attention. From the timeless charm of historic capitals to the avant-garde energy of cultural hubs, Europe offers a diverse tapestry of experiences.

This guide will be your passport to the best european cities awaiting exploration in the coming year, so join us as we share the top 15 cities in europe to visit in 2024..

Park Guell, Barcelona – the best cities in Europe to visit in 2024

Barcelona, Spain

Located on the northeastern coast of the Iberian Peninsula is the vibrant city of Barcelona , which seamlessly blends tradition and modernity into one unique creation. You can see the city’s unique architectural identity by visiting Sagrada Familia and Park Güell, two of Spanish artist Antoni Gaudí's most famous masterpieces. Aside from the architecture, you can’t miss out on the inviting people, bustling streets, and delicious cuisine like sizzling seafood paella. To top it off, the beautiful beaches add a laid-back charm that makes Barcelona one of the best cities to visit in Europe this year.

Prague – the best European cities to visit

Prague, Czech Republic

A trip to Prague feels similar to entering into a fairytale. The city’s history is evident throughout each of its cobblestone streets, Gothic architecture, castles, and overall magical ambiance. Prague also boasts some of the most iconic landmarks in all of Central Europe including Charles Bridge, the Astronomical Clock, and Old Town Square. While in Prague, you must indulge in hearty Czech cuisine, as you truly can’t experience the richness of the city without tasting the unique food options.

Dubrovnik – the best European cities to visit

Dubrovnik, Croatia

Dubrovnik is often synonymous with two things: medieval walls and the Old Town. These are two features that make the city so unique. Located on the Adriatic Coast, Dubrovnik is a dazzling coastal city encircled by medieval walls, hosting an Old Town that has been dubbed a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Take a stroll along the city walls for stunning views of the sea, explore charming streets, visit Game of Thrones filming locations , and take a tour of the Renaissance and Baroque architecture of Dubrovnik’s Old Town!

Amsterdam – the best cities in Europe to visit in 2024

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam's picturesque canals and historic architecture make it a perennial favorite. In recent years, Amsterdam has become a popular destination for tourists all around the world, for different reasons. For starters, you can’t deny that Amsterdam is filled with opportunities to learn. The Anne Frank House, Van Gogh Museum, and Rijksmuseum are cultural landmarks that enrich the city's allure. You can experience the rest of this Dutch treasure by exploring the narrow streets of the Jordaan District, taking a canal cruise , and visiting the vibrant flower markets.

Nice, France

Nice stands out as one of the best destinations in Europe, captivating visitors with its irresistible charm and diverse offerings. Nestled along the azure shores of the French Riviera, Nice seamlessly blends historic grandeur with a vibrant modern atmosphere. The city boasts an enchanting Old Town, where narrow cobblestone streets lead to bustling markets and charming cafes. The iconic Promenade des Anglais invites leisurely strolls along the Mediterranean, while the vibrant flower market, Marché aux Fleurs, adds a burst of color and fragrance to the experience. With a rich cultural heritage, a delectable culinary scene, serene beaches, and a mild Mediterranean climate, Nice captures the essence of an ideal Europe vacation.

Vienna – the best cities in Europe to visit in 2024

Vienna, Austria

Treat your ears to the musical legacy of Austria’s capital city of Vienna! Trace the steps of legendary musicians, including Beethoven and Mozart, all in this grand city. Explore the majestic Schönbrunn Palace and the artistic treasures of the Belvedere Palace, relive musical history at the Vienna State Opera, and wander through the historic Innere Stadt. When you’re not soaking in the city's elegance, Vienna's coffeehouse culture invites you to savor aromatic blends while contemplating the city's artistic legacy. Plus, indulge in local Austrian cuisine like traditional Wiener Schnitzel and delicate Sachertorte.

Inverness – the best European cities to visit

Inverness, Scotland

Nestled amidst the rugged beauty of the Scottish Highlands, Inverness is one of the best cities in Europe to visit for travelers who want an enchanting destination. The city, cradled by the River Ness, provides the perfect backdrop for leisurely strolls along its scenic banks. Also present – plenty of history! Learn about the intricacies of Inverness Castle, the mysteries of Loch Ness, and the haunting battles at the Culloden Battlefield. Beyond its historic gems, Inverness reveals a vibrant cultural heartbeat, echoing through its lively streets, diverse culinary delights, and the warm embrace of Scottish hospitality.

Santorini – the best cities in Europe to visit in 2024

Santorini, Greece

Become captivated by one of the Aegean Sea’s jewels: Santorini ! A city boasting a unique charm you can’t find elsewhere, Santorini is most well-known for its white-washed buildings and blue-domed roofs perched on dramatic cliffs. Simply walking through the famous Oia district is a magical experience of its own accord, yet you can’t miss seeing it during sunset hours. With delectable cuisine choices, beautiful scenery, and some of Greece’s most pristine beaches, Santorini is a must-visit destination in Europe.

Budapest – the best cities in Europe to visit in 2024

Budapest, Hungary

Budapest, often referred to as the "Pearl of the Danube," is a city divided by the Danube River, with Buda on one side and Pest on the other. This Hungarian capital captivates visitors with its stunning architecture, including the iconic Buda Castle and the grandeur of the Hungarian Parliament Building, illuminated along the Danube River at night. Budapest's thermal baths , such as the renowned Széchenyi and Gellért Baths, offer a unique relaxation experience. The city's vibrant culinary scene introduces palates to traditional Hungarian flavors and innovative gastronomy. As you traverse the historic streets and bridges, like the famous Chain Bridge, the city's rich history unfolds, with remnants of the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian empires. From the lively ruin bars to the tranquil Margaret Island, Budapest seamlessly marries the old and the new, creating an unforgettable tapestry of experiences.

Ponte Vecchio

Florence, Italy

Florence , renowned as the cradle of the Renaissance, exudes a captivating blend of art and history. The cultural significance of this city is beautifully showcased through iconic landmarks such as the Uffizi Gallery, Ponte Vecchio, and Florence Cathedral. Wander through the enchanting Piazza della Signoria, delight in the flavors of Tuscan cuisine, and relish the artistic marvels that grace every corner of this Italian gem. Take a day trip out into the Tuscan countryside to learn why Florence is one of the best cities to visit in Italy.

Reykjavik, Iceland

Reykjavik , Iceland's capital, distinguishes itself as a crowd-favorite travel destination thanks to its unique mix of cosmopolitan allure and natural wonders. Set against breathtaking landscapes, the city offers the rare chance to witness the mesmerizing Northern Lights , setting it apart from many of its European counterparts. Reykjavik's modern architecture, vibrant street art, and thriving cultural scene enhance its appeal, complemented by a rich history showcased in landmarks like Hallgrímskirkja. The warm hospitality of its residents, coupled with renowned geothermal pools like the Blue Lagoon, creates a perfect harmony of urban sophistication and natural splendor, making Reykjavik one of the best cities to visit in Europe.

Munich – the best European cities to visit

Munich, Germany

Set within the heart of Bavaria is a city that combines traces of tradition with a vibrant contemporary lifestyle – and that city is, of course, Munich ! What you’ll see in Munich is incomparable to anywhere else that you’ll visit in Germany. The Marienplatz, Nymphenburg Palace, and the English Garden are iconic landmarks that showcase Munich's architectural prowess and natural beauty. Embrace the lively atmosphere of the beer gardens, immerse yourself in Bavarian traditions, and experience the world-famous Oktoberfest (if your visit coincides with the fall festivities).

Manchester – the best cities in Europe to visit in 2024

Manchester, England

Specifically popular for its industrial heritage, Manchester has transformed into a modern metropolis while still retaining its unique “old-time” character. The city's architecture, from the historic Manchester Cathedral to the iconic Beetham Tower, reflects its diverse past. Manchester's cultural scene is electric, to say the least, with world-class museums such as the Manchester Museum and the Museum of Science and Industry offering engaging experiences. The city is also a haven for football enthusiasts, home to the legendary Old Trafford stadium. Overall, Manchester’s welcoming spirit, friendly locals, and the perfect balance of tradition and innovation make Manchester an incredible city to visit in Europe, or more specifically, the UK !

Glendalough in Wicklow – the best European cities to visit

Wicklow, Ireland

Nestled on Ireland's east coast, Wicklow is known as the "Garden of Ireland" and is one of Europe's best destinations. Though not quite a city, it is the capital town of County Wicklow. Renowned for its ethereal landscapes, Wicklow boasts the Wicklow Mountains National Park , a sprawling haven of rugged peaks, serene lakes, and lush forests. The captivating Glendalough, with its ancient monastic settlement and scenic lakes, adds a historic charm. Wicklow's dramatic coastline, featuring the iconic Sally Gap and Powerscourt Waterfall, offers breathtaking vistas. Visitors can explore quaint villages, indulge in local hospitality, and experience the warmth of Irish culture. Wicklow seamlessly blends natural beauty, cultural richness, and outdoor adventures, making it a must-visit destination in Europe.

Lisbon – the best European cities to visit

Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon invites visitors to experience a harmonious blend of history and contemporary energy. Its charming cobblestone streets, historic architecture, and lively neighborhoods create a vibrant city that unfolds along the Tagus River. Lisbon’s legendary viewpoints, such as the panoramic Miradouro da Senhora do Monte, provide stunning views of terracotta rooftops and picturesque landscapes around every corner. Lisbon's warm-hearted locals, the soulful notes of Fado music, and its proximity to beautiful beaches make it one of the best cities in Europe to visit for the perfect fusion of history, culture, and coastal allure.

In conclusion, the allure of Europe's top cities beckons with promises of unforgettable experiences in 2024. From the timeless elegance of Vienna to the cutting-edge creativity of Amsterdam, each city on this curated list opens a doorway to a unique adventure. As you contemplate your travel plans for the coming year, consider the rich history, cultural vibrancy, and breathtaking landscapes that await you in these top 15 cities in Europe to visit.

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World of Wanderlust

The 30 Most Beautiful Cities in Europe

There’s no denying my heart is in many ways in Europe. From the moment I stepped foot on the continent to my first time, biting into a croissant in Le Marais, there are so many times I have scattered pieces of my heart around this continent. And I’m convinced Europe is always calling me home. But as for the most beautiful cities in Europe, I can’t pick just a few. 

Europe is full of fascinating cities. From capital cities like Budapest and Prague to the smaller cities of Alesund and Bruges . There are so many defining moments and “aha!” moments I’ve had on my solo adventures across Europe. If you’re anything like me and seek out the best, you’ve come to the right place. This is my definitive list of the most beautiful cities in Europe.

Post updated April 2023.

Florence Italy | WOW

The most beautiful cities in Europe

1. florence, italy.

The capital of Italy’s region of Tuscany is commonly regarded as one of the most beautiful cities in the world. After visiting a handful of times over the years, I’ve gotta say I wholeheartedly agree. Florence is home to so much living history from the Renaissance period. You’ll be forgiven for giving yourself whiplash as you try to look in every direction and soak it all in! Beyond the Cathedral and the Ponte Vecchio, be sure to allow time to get off the main tourist thoroughfare. As soon as you walk across one of the many bridges, a whole other world awaits. Outside of the city centre, you can discover public parks, libraries, and smaller art galleries.

exciting european cities to visit

2. Vienna, Austria

There are few cities I can say compare to the beauty of Paris but Vienna is one such city that comes close. It has been described to me as a cleaner version of the French capital and having visited both a number of times, I can’t argue with that. The coffee house culture is however my favourite aspect of Vienna. It has a way of transporting you to a previous era with how stuffy and old school it is. But somehow it is also affectionately welcomed with open arms. Even for the younger generation, coffee houses are on trend!

Read more: The central European trifecta: Visiting Vienna, Prague and Budapest

exciting european cities to visit

3. Edinburgh, Scotland

I’ve said it before and I’ll stand by it time after time, Edinburgh would have to be one of the most underrated cities in Europe, if not the most. There’s something so magical and ethereal about this city that wins the hearts of many (myself included) almost instantly or in my case, before you even arrive. Bonus: there are a bunch of Harry Potter locations in the city. This is where J. K. Rowling herself wrote much of her work in cafes, drawing inspiration from locations throughout Edinburgh.

exciting european cities to visit

4. Prague, Czech Republic

Prague is undeniably one of the most charming cities to visit the world over. With a unique mix of gothic, romanesque and renaissance architectures, this city has endless beauty. The Old Town is abuzz with visitors any time of year. Therefore if you are trying to escape the crowds, get off the beaten path. Many of my favourite finds in Prague cannot be found in guidebooks.

Munich Germany

5. Munich, Germany

Visiting Germany for the first time is a feast for the senses. But if you’re looking for the most beautiful German city to visit, look no further than Munich. This romantic city in the South of Germany is characterised by its beer halls, cafe culture and charming architecture that makes the city beautiful despite the changing seasons. Year-round this is one of our top picks for the most beautiful cities in Europe.

Bruges Belgium | WOW

6. Bruges, Belgium

Bruges   is a city so beautiful, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were in a real life story book. Commonly regarded to as  the  most beautiful city in all of Europe, Bruges’ old world charm has an authenticity that isn’t often mimicked in cities when hoards of travellers find out about its’ existence but – somehow – it is managed to retain its’ charm.

Verona Italy | WORLD OF WANDERLUST

7. Verona, Italy

When you arrive in Verona you might pass out in sheer disbelief of how a city can be so darn beautiful in such a casual, cool-girl kinda way.  Verona  is said to be the birthplace of Romeo and Juliet (although it is worth mentioning this is a contentious claim), however you’ll soon see how the rumour started when you spend more than five minutes in the place.

Annecy_France

8. Annecy, France

Annecy is the kind of postcard town you think wouldn’t exist in real life but speaking from experience I can say with certainty that it is even more beautiful in person (hard to believe, I know!) Located in the southeast of France, the city overlooks Lake Annecy, has its’ own system of waterways and isn’t far from the alps, leaving it with a pinch-me backdrop to make it even more ethereal.

exciting european cities to visit

9. Budapest, Hungary

A city as lovely as Budapest , it’s no wonder the Hungarian capital has become a hot spot for travellers doing the loop around Europe. Just a three-hour train ride from Vienna, Budapest is an essential stop in central Europe not only for its unique and fascinating history but also for its grandeur and beauty that could rival even Paris. The city is sprawling but mostly walkable, as much of the attractions are centred around the Danube. Be sure to venture over the river to Buda and visit Castle Hill and Fisherman’s Bastion for the best views of the city from above.

How to Spend Four Days in Barcelona | WORLD OF WANDERLUST

10. Barcelona, Spain

It didn’t take me long to fall in love with Barcelona , one of Europe’s most vibrant cities. Full of colour, magnificent Gaudi architecture and some of the best food you’ll find across Europe (patatas bravas anyone!?), there’s so much to love about this city. As far as beauty goes, you can’t beat the endless architectural marvels in Barcelona – its a picture perfect postcard waiting to happen. Rent a van in Barcelona and go to see the wonders of the city with friends.

Where to Travel Solo | Amsterdam WORLD OF WANDERLUST

11. Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam is one of Europe’s most visited cities and for good reason. Once known as the weed capital of the world (California’s legalisation and those that followed suit has kinda dulled it down), Amsterdam has a lively appeal that attracts young travellers with magnetic force. With its canals and famous canal houses, this is easily one of the most beautiful cities in all of Europe.

Solo Travel in Europe | WOW

12. Paris, France

If you’ve been on this blog before, you’ll know first hand that my obsession with Paris is real. As real as it gets. If you can see Paris through the lens of the 1950’s, you’ll fall even more in love with the city of light – full of culture, art and a living literary history through its many cafes, bars, streets and sidewalks that have appeared in the works of the lost generation.

A Guide to Mykonos Greece | WORLD OF WANDERLUST

13. Mykonos, Greece

Mykonos is one of those cities I knew I’d fall head over heels in love with but for one reason or another, it took me some time before I finally visited Greece. This party centre is as fun as it is beautiful – but for the best of Mykonos, be sure to explore in the early hours of the morning before the crowds take to the streets.

Malta Valletta

14. Valletta, Malta

I didn’t spend enough time in Malta but I’m itching to go back. This country is full of beautiful architecture, an impressive history, and some of the loveliest locals you’ll meet – they are proud to call Malta home and they can’t wait to share it with you. Valletta, the capital, is at the heart of this country and having been established in 1500, is as old as it looks.

exciting european cities to visit

15. Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen is one of the prettiest seaside cities and as classic as Nordic cities come. Nyhaven, the collection of colourful houses by the sea, is one of Europe’s most photographed spots and for good reason – it looks too beautiful to be real! However there is much more of this city to discover when you venture in to the city streets – castles, whimsical gardens and Danish pastries are just the beginning.

exciting european cities to visit

16. Stockholm, Sweden

When I visited Stockholm for the first time I knew it wouldn’t be the last. The capital of Sweden is so charming and quaint that you’d be forgiven for forgetting this is a city of almost one million inhabitants. The city encompasses 14 islands and thus much of it is surrounded by water – connected by bridges and illuminating effortlessly in the setting sun.

Tallinn Photo Diary | World of Wanderlust

17. Tallinn, Estonia

Tallinn is Europe’s fairytale town: the one and only city where you simple cannot, at any turn within the Old Town Walls, be surrounded by what feels like magic. There’s an original chemist selling unicorn dust, for a start.

Guide to Alesund Norway | World of Wanderlust

18. Alesund, Norway

When you hear people talk of the prettiest city in Norway you never really hear them say Alesund . I’m changing that. Having had Bergen on my bucket list for quite some time, I was surprised to see the incredible Art Nouveau architecture of Alesund. And quite frankly, I was stunned that I had not stumbled upon it sooner. Having rebuilt after a fire in 1904, the city has managed to retain its authenticity and charm with ease.

St Petersburg Russia | WORLD OF WANDERLUST

19. Seville, Spain

Like most cities located on a body of water, Seville has a sense of romanticism about it that breeds a type of beauty indescribable by words alone. The city is set along the Guadalquivir river, characterised by narrow winding streets and Arabic influence. This mix of cultures and centuries makes it one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and certainly amongst the top three most beautiful cities in Spain.

exciting european cities to visit

20. Zurich, Switzerland

Zurich   is one of the most beautiful cities in all of Switzerland and just by looking at photos alone, it isn’t hard to see why. This city if charming with an attention to detail like no other.

exciting european cities to visit

21. Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon is still one of my favourite cities in Western Europe, despite becoming one of the most popular and trending cities im Europe over recent years (thanks in part to how affordable it is!) The city is bursting with colour and life at every turn, especially in the neighbourhood of Alfama.

Quick_Guide_to_Strasbourg_France

22. Strasbourg, France

I wasn’t expecting to love Strasbourg nearly as much as I did and as such, considered it a stopover city en route to Colmar in the Alsace region. However this would have to be one of Europe’s most underrated, prettiest cities. Bordering Germany, the French city has a unique blend of architecture that you won’t find elsewhere.

exciting european cities to visit

23. Ghent, Belgium

Ghent will steal your heart in an instant. This university city is an interesting one: old in looks but young at heart, with a thriving student population that make this a really fun city to visit. Only a short train ride from Bruges, I would argue if you’re visiting one you must visit the other: they’re both so similar but yet so different!

Rome Italy | WORLD OF WANDERLUST

24. Rome, Italy

I will never forget the first time I visited Rome . It was with my father at 17 years of age and perhaps the single-most city I remember most: every detail. We were both visiting Europe for the first time and were in awe of the history – so much so that it almost feels like a dream looking back. We spent a week exploring the sights and eating our way into a carb-induced coma and I can say with certainty there’s only one thing I would do differently: wear better walking shoes.

Dubrovnik Croatia | WORLD OF WANDERLUST

25. Dubrovnik, Croatia

Dubrovnik became really popular around 5-6 years ago and has only increased in popularity since becoming one of the main shooting locations for HBO’s Game of Thrones.  This city is as pretty as a postcard with an idyllic location on the seaside – a combination that can’t be beaten!

Warsaw | WORLD OF WANDERLUST

26. Warsaw, Poland

Despite being the capital, Warsaw is not the first city many travellers think of when visiting Poland. I too had fallen into this trap and considered Krakow the only city I desperately wanted to visit on my first time in the country some ten years ago. As it turns out, Warsaw is just as (if not more) beautiful to explore and has a wonderful old town that comes to life over the Christmas period.

Reykjavik | WORLD OF WANDERLUST

27. Reykjavik, Iceland

Reykjavik was much smaller than I expected but also more beautiful than I could have imagined. The people in particular are extremely friendly and proud of their nation, eager to learn where you are from and what brought you to Iceland. Wandering the streets on foot is the best way to get around, just be sure to allow yourself to get lost – as this is where the magic happens!

Fall in love with Italy | WORLD OF WANDERLUST

28. Venice, Italy

This list would not be complete without Venice , one of Europe’s most visited and sought after cities to visit. The sinking city is said to have a time limit in place, so be sure to make it a priority if you want to see it before it goes!

Antwerp_Belgium

29. Antwerp, Belgium

When I arrived in Antwerp I wasn’t sure what to expect because quite frankly, I hadn’t heard a thing about it. As it turns out this was one of my favourite cities to discover in Belgium: full of young people, extremely fashionable and fun to ride a bike around. The city centre is beautiful to stroll around and you could spend at least a couple of days doing just that.

exciting european cities to visit

30. London, United Kingdom

London will always be one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and there’s no denying it has earned its title as one of the world’s most visited cities year after year. For the royal fans (myself included) there is much to see and do in support of the royal family, or you can simply spend a few hours walking the streets of Mayfair pretending to be posh (not a bad way to pass time if you’re so inclined!)

Like this? Now read:

8 Romantic Towns in Europe to Visit

The 18 Best Cities to Visit in Eastern Europe

Europe Bucket List: 50 Places you must visit

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A few snapshots from Island life in Koh Samui 🥹🌴 just shared my blog posts from this trip in Thailand and now craving mango sticky rice pudding, the kindness and hospitality of Thai people and those buffet breakfast spreads (the kinda ones that keep you full til dinner). My stay at @fskohsamui was like something out of a story book. Especially that last photo - that night was one to remember 🫶🏼 #kohsamui #thailand #travel #travelblog #thailandtravel

Brooke Saward founded World of Wanderlust as a place to share inspiration from her travels and to inspire others to see our world. She now divides her time between adventures abroad and adventures in the kitchen, with a particular weakness for French pastries.

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guest

Wow- stunning photos! Especially the one of Reykjavik. I’ve been to several of these cities and I agree wholeheartedly with them being on the list. I wish Ferrara was on your list!

Brooke Saward

They’re in no order – just numbered for easy reference :)

Silva

Roma after Ghent, are you really sure?

Iain

Thanks for your website – so interesting. For me it would be impossible to list only three beautiful cities in Europe! My own choice in no particular order includes: Vienna, Paris, Budapest, Edinburgh, Prague, Berlin, Istanbul, Bruges, Bratislava, Stockholm, Bergen, Tallinn, Riga, Munich, Heidelberg, Salzburg, Florence, Rome, Turin, Bordeaux, Toulouse, Lyon, Strasbourg, Potsdam, Lübeck, Luxembourg, Dresden, Leipzig.

But I’m bound to have forgotten some, then there are others like Porto, Lisbon, Venice, Vilnius and Ljubljana that I haven’t visited yet.

Can’t wait for the pandemic to be over.

Do you have three favourite cities in Europe? Sound off in the comments to vote for your favourite European cities!

Petr

It is Art Nouveau/Jugend in Ålesund. Not Art deco

Joaquin

My list of Best Cities in Europe: 1. Paris, France 2. Rome, Italy 3. Moscow, Russia 4. Venice, Italy 5. Prague, Czech Republic 6. Budapest, Hungary 7. Istambul, Turkey 8. Florence, Italy 9. St Petersbourg, Russia 10. Cordoba, Spain 11. Vienna, Austria 12. Tallin, Estonia 13. London, England 14. Dubrovnik, Croatia 15. Berlin, Germany 16. Oia, Santorini – Greece 17. Edimbourgh, Scotland 18. Dresde, Germany 19. Split, Croatia 20. Barcelona, Spain 21. Amsterdam, Netherlands 22. Porto, Portugal 23. Copenhagen, Denmark 24. Kotor, Montenegro 25. Krakow, Poland 26. Stockholm, Sweden 27. Granada, Spain 28. Ghent, Belgium 29. Kyiv, Ukraine 30. Sibiu, …  Read more »

A few snapshots from Island life in Koh Samui 🥹🌴 just shared my blog posts from this trip in Thailand and now craving mango sticky rice pudding, the kindness and hospitality of Thai people and those buffet breakfast spreads (the kinda ones that keep you full til dinner). My stay at @fskohsamui was like something out of a story book. Especially that last photo - that night was one to remember 🫶🏼 #kohsamui #thailand #travel #travelblog #thailandtravel

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The Planet D: Adventure Travel Blog

35 Most Beautiful Cities in Europe to See This Year

Written By: The Planet D

Europe , Travel Bucket Lists

Updated On: February 14, 2024

Europe's most beautiful cities

Enjoy our list of the most beautiful cities in Europe that have actually been to. This is not someone else’s opinion, these are the best European cities that we have visited personally in real life. We’ve seen and experienced all of these cities firsthand. That way we can give you an honest opinion of what we think the prettiest cities in Europe are. We did not pick cities off a press release nor did we copy from another list on the Internet so let us know if you agree in the comments once you are finished!

most beautiful cities in europe venice gondolas

Table of Contents

Best Cities in Europe

There are some European cities that didn’t make the list but we are constantly updating this list each time we visit a new European destination. It can be difficult to narrow down which are the best cities in Europe to visit on beauty alone.

Most European cities have done an amazing job preserving their buildings and history which plays such a big part in determining where they place on this list. Want more information on European Capital Cities? Check out 14 Best European Capital Cities To Visit

We most certainly haven’t seen all of Europe, but we wanted to do a round-up of Europe’s most beautiful cities….that we’ve seen so far. So without further adieu, enjoy our photos and memories of the most beautiful cities in Europe to visit… according to us!

1. Paris, France

Paris is definitely one of the most beautiful cities in Europe

Paris is often considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It may seem cliché, but will always be the most beautiful city in Europe to us. No matter how many other cities we see, we still come back to the City of Lights and gaze upon it with wonder and awe. We never tire of seeing different views of the Eiffel Tower an going up for a champagne toast is one for the bucket list.

beautiful cities to visit in europe paris eiffel tower

Walking through the city streets at night is one of our favorite things to do and each time we visit Paris, we are mesmerized by seeing the Eiffel Tower twinkle in the night. With each visit to one of the most famous cities in the world, we find more art galleries to explore and we always stumble upon a quiet corner to have a romantic escape. It is the cornerstone of what makes this city great.

  • How to Visit Paris on a Budget
  • Where to Stay in Paris – The Best Neighborhoods
  • Free Things in Paris
  • Three Days in Paris
  • Paris Museum and Attraction Closures
  • Famous Cemitiere Pere la Chaise

2. Copenhagen, Denmark

Most Beautiful Cities in Europe - Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen holds a special place in our hearts. This enchanting city is a treat to explore. With Tivoli Gardens, Nyhavn, The Little Mermaid, and an endless stream of canals, Copenhagen definitely deserves to be named one of Europe’s most beautiful cities. It is like a fairytale to walk around.

Nyhavn is probably the most scenic cityscape in all of the Scandinavian cities we visited. This waterfront canal is located in the Old Town and is a must see when visiting Copenhagen. 17th-century townhouses line the canal filled with historic sailboats. What makes these townhouses so special is the fact that they are painted in bright colors.

  • 12 Terrific Things to do in Copenhagen
  • Tivoli Gardens – Magic and Beauty 

3. Venice, Italy

Most Beautiful Cities in Europe - Venice, Italy

Venice is one of the best European cities to visit as long as you don’t go on a cruise. Traveling independently and staying overnight in the city is an amazing experience. Even though it is known for its canals, getting lost in its maze of cobblestone streets and back alleys is part of the fun of visiting this charming city.

Many people don’t love Venice, but we think it is because they have never stayed there long enough. We spent six days exploring Venice and it quickly because one of our favorite cities to visit in Europe. We would watch cruise lines and bus tours come in for a day and zip right back out before they had a chance to really explore Venice.

beautiful cities in europe venice

Taking boat trips through the canals created a picture-perfect experience and enjoying quiet drinks on a bistro terrace felt like a dream. See what it’s like to see Venice by Private Water Taxi, it was our favorite tour we’ve ever taken.

  • 25 Best Things to do in Venice, Italy This Year
  • Venice City Tour the Way it Was Meant to Be
  • Apartment Rentals vs Hotels – Our Stay in Venice

4. Budapest, Hungary

Most beautiful Cities in Europe - Budapest, Hungary

Budapest is probably the most beautiful city in Europe that’s on the water. Walking over the chain bridge to witness the beauty of Buda and Pest looking back at one another across the Danube is pure perfection. hen the lights come on in Budapest, make your way down to the river and take in the splendor of the two cities.

The Hungarian Parliament shines at night overlooking the Danube River with The Széchenyi Chain Bridge reflecting in its waters making for a magical scene. Budapest at night is truly one of the prettiest cities in Europe. Budapest is surprisingly known for its thermal baths and ruin bars. These two tourist destinations are what make Budapest so unique.

  • 18 Pictures of Budapest That Will Make You Want to Pack Your Bags
  • 16 of the Best Things to do in Budapest
  • Communist Tour of Budapest
  • Buy the Book: Secrets of the Smallest Seven States in Europe

5. Florence, Italy

Most Beautiful Cities in Europe Florence

Florence is truly a city of art and one of the most beautiful cities to visit in Europe. With every turn you make you will run into sculptures or intricate etching in the architecture. It’s a city where you can walk slowly through its cobbled streets while enjoying each and every building you lay eyes upon.

The Duomo stands proud in the city center and endless cobblestone streets weave around allowing you to get lost and simply enjoy. See more at Florence in Photos: A City of Art Make sure to make more than a day trip out of visiting Florence, spend several to really delve into the art and culture of this gorgeous metropolis.

  • 10 Most Beautiful Things to do in Florence
  • Where to Stay in Florence – An Insider’s Guide to Neighborhoods
  • A walking Tour of Florence – The Tale of Two Davids
  • Florence in Photos – a City of Art

6. Bern, Switzerland

Most Beautiful Cities in Europe Bern, Switzerland

Bern, Switzerland is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the political center of Switzerland. It is also the capital city of Switzerland. Bern doesn’t feel like a political hub though, this city was made for walking. The walkways of Bern are all covered making for pleasant shopping in any type of weather.

Seeing Bern from the Aare River reinforces our decision why we included it in our list of the most beautiful cities we’ve ever visited.

  • The Ultimate Switzerland Road Trip Itinerary
  • The Ultimate One-Week Switzerland Itinerary
  • 22 Beautiful Places to Visit in Switzerland

7. Barcelona, Spain

Most Beautiful Cities in Europe Barcelona

The more we visit Barcelona, the more we love it. At first, we weren’t fans of the works of Gaudi , but as we got to know him a bit more, we fell in love with his innovative, colorful and playful architecture. In fact, the works of Gaudi are not only designated as 1 UNESCO World Heritage Site but there are 9 UNESCO-designated sites in Barcelona alone! 7 of which belong to Anotnie Gaudi himself.

With a beautiful waterfront, quiet parks, downtown walking streets, and bustling markets, Barcelona is definitely up there as one of the most beautiful and vibrant cities we’ve visited in Europe.

  • Where to Stay in Barcelona
  • A Local’s Guide to What to do in Barcelona at Night
  • Romantic Barcelona – 7 Seductive Places to Visit
  • 26 of the Best Places to Visit in Barcelona

8. Bergen, Norway

Most Beautiful Cities in Europe Bergen Norway

We think Bergen Norway is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe due to its natural beauty. Surrounded by mountains, it is truly picture-perfect. the historic Bryggen Area makes for a picturesque waterfront. It may not be the obvious Norwegian city to visit in Europe (most people naturally think of Oslo first) but Bergen is certainly one for the bucket list.

The first place you should visit in Bergen is Bryggen, the fairytale village of historic wooden houses lining the waterfront. This historic quarter of Bergen is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and with good reason. Bergen is surrounded by 7 mountains, picture-perfect views and old-world architecture. Make sure to take the cable car to the top of Mount Fløyen for amazing views of the city. When you see Bergen, you’ll agree that it may be one of the prettiest cities in Europe.

We even named our original post about Bergina: Things to do in Norway’s Most Beautiful City

9. Brussels, Belgium

Most Beautiful Cities in Europe  Brussels

Brussels was one of the first European cities we’ve ever visited and I will never forget the feeling we had when we finally found the square. We had been walking the city streets and rounded a corner to see the famous Old Town Square. And the sight took our breath away. We visited it again a couple of years ago and the feeling did not fade.

We still think that the Square of Brussels is one of the most beautiful squares in all of Europe. Its art nouveau buildings are some of the best in Europe. In fact, Horta Hotel Tassa was the first building in Europe constructed in the Art Nouveau style. It’s an absolutely beautiful city filled with history and charm. Brussels, Belgium is a charming city to visit, but it is the old town square that put it near the top of our favourite of the beautiful cities in Europe.

Bruges, Belgium

beautiful cities in europe bruges belgium

Often people think Bruges is one of the most beautiful European cities. We haven’t been to Bruges yet, but we thought we’d sneak it in after Brussels as a hidden European city to visit on this list (you won’t see it in the table of contents until we’ve visited) But we have had people write articles about Bruges for us, we did see the movie “In Bruges” and we’ve done a lot of research. When we go back to Europe next, this town will be one of our first stops. Check it out and see what you think!

10. Tallinn, Estonia

Most Beautiful Cities in Europe Tallin

We only managed to pop over to Estonia for a day, but I am so happy that the city we visited was beautiful Tallinn. If you are doing a Scandinavia tour, Tallinn is definitely one of the prettiest cities to visit (in northern Europe at least)on the list.

Tallinn was surprising. We didn’t really know what to expect when visiting Estonia, but what an interesting country with a very rich history. We can’t wait to go back and see more! With its medieval square, high lookouts and ancient wall, it has everything you need to see when visiting a European City. If you are traveling through Scandinavia, make sure to add Estonia to your list.

11. Rome, Italy

Most Beautiful Cities in Europe Rome

Rome made the list of beautiful cities to visit in Europe because of the way the ancient ruins weave through modern architecture. Rome is a city that has left Roman history intact. They have incorporated the old Roman architecture into the plans of the city. Modern buildings spring up between ancient monuments and we love it!

The entire old city center of Rome is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Witnessing places like the Colosseum, Pantheon and St. Peter’s Basilica is on many a traveler’s bucket list. It is one awe-inspiring sight after another when you visit this European City. So add Rome to your list of must visit cities in Europe, you won’t be disappointed. Rent or Buy Roman Holiday starring Audrey Hepburn to get into your Rome travel mood.

  • Where to Stay in Rome – Insider Tips to the Best Areas
  • 22 of the Best Things to do in Rome
  • Places to Visit Near Rome – Top 10 Alternative Attractions
  • Ancient Rome in Photos

12. Prague, Czech Republic

Most Beautiful Cities in Europe Prague czech republic

We had often heard that Prague, Czech Republic (Czechia) was a beautiful city in Europe, and when we first laid eyes on her, she didn’t disappoint. Yes, it is busy and crowded, but if you step out of the main trail, you’ll find quiet spots to grab a bite or a pint. Like any cities in Europe, the river offers the most beautiful views. The Prague Castle stands proud overhead as the Charles Bridge spans the lovely Vltava River.

If you wake up early and walk around the city, you will have it all to yourself. The old town square is one of the prettiest in Europe and when you have it all to yourself, it is truly breathtaking. Dave and I were amazed to see that people didn’t really get started until well after 9:00 am giving us plenty of time to enjoy the beautiful architecture in private. See our visit: Mongolia Pictures from the Russian Border to the Gobi Desert

Did you know that the Czech Republic is now called Czechia? Read more at 20 of The Best Things to do in Prague, Czechia

13. Istanbul, Turkey

Most Beautiful Cities in Europe Istanbul

When gazing upon the city of Istanbul from our rooftop terrace at night, it is set afire with light. Istanbul is a city with two personalities. One foot in the West with a European flair and the other foot in the East of Asia. Spanning two continents it is also Europe’s largest city. It is the Eastern influence that makes this city so beautiful.

Mosques dot the cityscape as spires peek out from above the skyline. The Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia do not disappoint and the Old City is the perfect place to get lost in time. Take a stroll through the Grand Baazar or go up to the top of Galata Tower for the best views of the city.

Visiting Istanbul is a rich cultural experience where East meets West. It’s an enormous city yet it is easy to walk and navigate. If you can make it up the Galata Tower to witness it from above, make sure that you do. You’ll understand why we say it is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.

  • 27 Best Things to do in Istanbul, Turkey
  • 3 Days In Istanbul Itinerary
  • i The Blue Mosque of Istanbul and tips for Entry

14. London, England

beautiful cities in Europe london tower brige

I know we will probably get some flack for putting London in as one of our most beautiful cities in europe, but we find it to be stunning. Our favorite part of London was hanging out by the river. With Tower Bridge, We took water taxis and ferries and took in the beauty of the city from the water. It is filled with memorable and notable architecture. It’s colorful, massive, and beautiful. Do you agree?

  • Where to Stay in London
  • London Landmarks – 18 Famous Places in Photos
  • 3 Days in London – The Ultimate London Itinerary
  • 22 of the Top Things to do in London, England

15. Dublin, Ireland

prettiest cities in europe dublin

It took me a while to add Dublin to my list of beautiful cities. When I first started compiling this, I only thought of skylines and places that took my breath away. But after visiting Dublin on several different occasions, I realize that it isn’t just about a skyline of skyscrapers that makes a city beautiful, it’s the culture and people. The River Liffey snakes through the heart of the city and when going for a walk, one can really take in its charm.

Dublin has quiet parks for getaways, castles to explore and an excellent put scene. The more we travel to it, the more beautiful it becomes.

  • 34 of the Best Things to do in Dublin, Ireland
  • Where to Stay in Dublin, Ireland: Best Areas and Hotels for Every Budget
  • A Step by Step Guide to the Guinness Storehouse
  • The Cliffs of Moher

16. Amsterdam, Netherlands

prettiest cities in europe amsterdam

Dave and I visited Amsterdam before our travel blogging careers, but it left an impression. Known as the Venice of the North, Amsterdam truly is a city of picturesque canals. The colorful waterways make it one of the prettiest cities in Europe and they are perfect for a stroll making it a perfect walking city. Of course, you can ride a bicycle too! We feel a kinship with Amsterdam’s Liberal values. Being Canadian, we have a lot in common with the people of the Netherlands.

  • The 21 Best Day Trips from Amsterdam
  • Ann Frank House – A Moving Tribute
  • Where to Stay in Amsterdam – A guide to the best neighborhoods

17. Stockholm, Sweden

sweden travel guide

Stockholm was one of our favorite cities in Scandinavia. The capital city of Sweden is located on the Baltic Sea and the colorful buildings of the old town line the waterfront taking your breath away.

What we love about Scandinavian towns is how there are amusement parks right in the center of the city and Stockholm is no exception with its grounds on the river. This northern city is connected with ferries taking visitors to 14 different islands. You won’t forget your visit Stockholm, it’s one of the best tourist destinations in northern Europe.

  • How to Visit Stockholm on a Budget
  • check out another picturesque city in Sweden in our Malmo Itinerary

18. Dubrovnik

Best Things to do in Dubrovnik Croatia

Located on the Adriatic Sea, Dubrovnik is surrounded by crystal clear waters and picturesque beaches that make it a truly beautiful place to visit. The city is also home to a number of charming islands, including the island of Lokrum, which is home to a beautiful botanical garden and a monastery that dates back to the 12th century.

One of the main things that make Dubrovnik so beautiful is its Old Town, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Old Town is surrounded by a medieval wall that was built in the 13th century and is filled with narrow streets, charming squares, and beautiful buildings that are a testament to the city’s rich history.

The Old Town is also home to a number of important landmarks, including the Dubrovnik Cathedral, the Rector’s Palace, and the Sponza Palace. Dubrovnik was also used as a filming location for Game of Thrones. Dubrovnik’s old city was used extensively for Kings Landing since season two and there are plenty of places that you will recognize.

  • Things to do in Dubrovnik
  • Where to Stay in Dubrovnik

19. Reykjavik, Iceland

reykjavik waterfront beautiful cities in europe

Visiting Iceland was a dream come true and its capital city of Reykjavik is beautiful. Reykjavik is one of the smaller cities on our list, but it packs a punch. Like many of Europe’s beautiful cities, Reykjavik has colorful buildings lining the waterfront, pedestrian avenues, and lots of shopping, dining, and nightlife. It is a city that is quintessentially Nordic and when visiting Iceland deserves a couple of days to explore.

Like many European Cities to visit on this list, Iceland was used as a filming location for Game of Thrones. Even though Reykjavik wasn’t used, the crew stayed here and many of the surrounding national parks, glaciers and lagoons were used in the popular series. We were huges Game of Thrones fans and visited many destination around the world. Check out this Game of Thrones Tour of Northern Ireland that recreates some of the scenes shot in Iceland .

  • Iceland Pictures
  • The Blue Lagoon – Is it Worth It?
  • 13 Unique Places To Visit In Iceland

20. Bologna, Italy

Most Beautiful Cities in Europe - Bologna

When we found out we were spending three weeks in Bologna, we were excited. But we didn’t know much about it. It turns out, that Bologna should be added to everyone’s Italian itinerary. Bologna is one of the most underrate cities to visit in Europe and that is a good thing. It’s not as crowded as Rome or Venice, but there is just as much history, amazing food and architecture.

Bologna has a more local vibe and as you can see it’s absolutely stunning. Take a stroll through the old city and its cobblestone streets as you find one hidden gem after another. Bologna even has the highest leaning tower in all of Italy and when you walk up it, you’ll have amazing views of the city. Move over Pisa, this leaning tower is the real deal. (note, we took this photo from the top of Bologna’s leaning tower.)

  • Best Things to do in Bologna
  • Gelato vs Ice Cream a Tasty Showdown in Balogna
  • 12 Reasons to Love Emilia Romagna

21. Berlin, Germany

Cool Berlin

Having only been to Berlin once, we debated if we were allowed to include it in our list of beautiful cities. It’s been filled with so much graffiti over the years, instead of fighting it, it has embraced it. It has turned vandalism into a work of art. The architecture of Berlin is all over the place with a mix of buildings that clash with one another. And that is what makes Berlin Beautiful.

Not only is it beautiful, but Berlin is also one of the hippest cities to visit in Europe with amazing nightlife, cool neighborhoods and funky cafes. Read more: The Best Places to Visit in Berlin, Germany

22. Zurich Switzerland

beautiful cities in europe zurich switzerland

The beautiful European city of Zurich is a dream destination. The picturesque setting on Lake Zurich and the Limmat River make for a gorgeous spot to take in the sunset and watch the beautiful people walk by. Zurich has it all with a well-preserved old town, a rich history, and incomparable wealth. Walking through the cobbled streets will take you back in time.

One of our favorite things to do in Zurich was to see it from above. Take the Felsenegg cable car up to 803 meters above sea level for breathtaking views of the city.

  • The Perfect 3 Days in Zurich, Switzerland
  • The Best Things to do in Zurich, Switzerland

23. Vienna, Austria

beautiful cities in europe vienna austria christmas

We visited Vienna, Austria during the holiday season and it is second to none when it comes to Christmas Markets. The city shines with lights and festivities. There is a reason that Vienna is referred to as one of the most beautiful capital cities in Europe. From its magnificent architecture and impressive museums to its musical history and art scene, it is easy to see why Vienna is so popular.

Bundle up and drink some mulled wine while you browse the walking streets and outdoor shops. Vienna’s opera house was rebuilt after World War II and is considered one of the most glamorous in the world. Read more: The 24 Best Things to do in Vienna, Austria

24. Munich, Germany

beautiful cities in europe munich germany

Germany’s Bavaria surprised us. We didn’t expect to love it so much, but it is Europe’s hidden gem. Munich is a city filled with cobblestone streets that are perfect for walking in the Old Town and picturesque squares, and it’s perfect to explore by bicycle.

Just outside the city is Europe’s largest park and there are plenty of beer halls and beer gardens. Plus don’t forget the famous Glockenspiel located at Marienplatz. Read more: Best Things to do in Munich, Germany

  • Garmisch Partenkirken – A Magical Town in the Alps
  • The Best Things to do in Bavaria
  • Best Castles in Germany

beautiful cities to visit in europe athens

It took us three different visits to Athens before we really appreciated its beauty. The city is home to some of the most famous ancient ruins in the world, including the Acropolis, the Parthenon, and The Agora. There is nothing more breathtaking than sitting at a rooftop bar at Monastiraki Square looking at the Acropolis standing proud over the city.

There are so many places to take in views of the city with rooftop bars and patios all over Athens. One of the best places though is to take the cable car up to Lybitacus Hill for the overall best views of Athens.

best cities to visit in europe athens greece

A visit to Athens was on our bucket list for years. It was at a travel bloggers conference that we had our first taste of this eternal city and we have gone back a couple of times to really take in its beauty. Make sure to stay in the city center to be able to walk to all of the popular tourist attractions. It’s one of the most walkable capital cities in Europe and we love it.

Athens is also home to many beautiful parks and gardens. The National Garden is a lush oasis in the heart of the city where you can escape between viewing its impressive buildings and structures such as the Temple of Olympian Zeus, the Panathenaic Stadium, and the Syntagma Square. Whether you are interested in history, art, or just enjoying the sights and sounds of a vibrant city, Athens has something to offer you.

  • The Best Things to do in Athens
  • Where to Stay in Athens

26. Porto, Portugal

beautiful european cities to visit porto

The Medieval architecture of Porto is a lovely city located on the Douro River. Taking a tram ride through the city takes you back in time. They are designated with a heritage status for tourists to enjoy the historic transportation. When visiting Porto make sure to take a stroll through its old town beginning at the banks of the River Douro.

Taking a walk along the bustling waterfront makes for a romantic evening and don’t forget to take the funicular up for panoramic views. Lisbon may be one of the most popular cities to visit in Portugal, but Porto stole our hearts. Read more: 14 Best Things to Do in Sintra, Portugal in 2023

27. Brasov, Romania

brasov square is a beautiful european city

We fell in love with Romania and while the city of Bucharest is lively and exciting, it is the area of Transylvania that stole our hearts. While Dracula’s Castle is the popular tourist attraction in the area, make sure to spend a couple of days in Brasov.

The Old Town of Brasov is filled with walking streets, medieval architecture, and gothic churches. Take a stroll through the cobblestone streets of the Old Town Square and marvel at the sights and sounds. Council Square in the city center is one of the best places to hang out in Brasov. Watch our video: Scenes from Romania

28. Lisbon, Portugal

best cities to visit in europe lisbon portugal

There are so many beautiful cities in Portugal it is difficult to choose, but let’s go with the Capital City, Lisbon. Located on the Atlantic coast, the city is home to a number of impressive buildings and landmarks, including the Belem Tower overlooking the Tagus River, Jeronimos Monastery, and the Sao Jorge Castle. Besides its historic landmarks, Lisbon is also home to a number of modern structures, such as the Vasco da Gama Bridge, which is the longest bridge in Europe and offers breathtaking views of the city and the surrounding area.

Make sure to go to the Alfama neighborhood to wander its narrow streets, colorful houses, and lively atmosphere. The Baixa neighborhood, on the other hand, is a more modern neighborhood that is known for its wide boulevards and elegant buildings.

  • Best Things to do in Lisbon
  • How to Spend a Layover in Lisbon, Portugal
  • 20 Best Cities in Portugal to Visit

29. Seville, Spain

beautiful cities in europe - seville

We popped into Seville on a road trip through Spain and Italy years ago. That was when we traveled to check off a lot of places at once and we wish we stayed longer! Something we love about European cities is how they don’t change the historic parts of towns. If you’ve visited them before, they are just as beautiful as they are today, and the old town of Seville is no exception

People have taken note of Seville all over again thanks to Game of Thrones who used this location for the city of Mareen and locations in Dorne. It’s no wonder, Seville is one of the most beautiful places in Europe! See more Game of Thrones filming locations around the world at Game of Thrones Filming Locations You Can Visit in Real Life

  • 15 Free Things to do in Seville, Spain
  • Game of Thrones Filming Locations
  • 10 Must Visit Cities in Spain

30. Helsinki, Finland

beautiful cities in europe - finland

Helsinki was our final stop on our Scandinavian tour and like all the cities we visited in Northern Europe, it too was beautiful! The Helsinki Cathedral is the center point of the city towering over the colorful buildings lining the waterfront.

We love how Scandinavians always have swimming pools right in the heart of the city. Helsinki has a prominent swimming hole at the canal. The water is so clean! Like so many cities we love, there are walking streets, shopping and plenty of bistros and cafes.

31. Basel Switzerland

beautiful cities to visit in europe basel switzerland

Switzerland has one beautiful city after another and we couldn’t end our beautiful cities in Europe list without including our favorite city in Switzerland, Basel. Located on the Rhine River, Basel it has the perfect blend of old and new. The history of the Old Town blends beautifully with the contemporary architectural designs throughout the city. The cultural capital of Switzerland has a magnificent Old Town.

Take a tour of The Altstadt (Old City) to see the amazing Basel Munster Cathedral which captures the soul of the city through its twin towers and red sandstone walls. The Rhine River cuts through the city center and there is no better way to take in the views of the city than by either taking a boat tour, or swimming in the river. (you heard me correctly, one of the top things to do in Basel is to swim in the River Rhine.

  • 24 Fantastic Things to do in Basel, Switzerland
  • 20 Reasons to Fall in Love with Basel, Switzerland

I know that Edinburgh is another beautiful city in Europe. Do you think it deserves to make the list?

32. Edinburgh, Scotland

beautiful cities to visit in europe edinbrugh

Edinburgh is built atop a series of extinct volcanoes and rocky crags, providing panoramic views of the surrounding area. The Old Town is a particularly picturesque area, with its winding medieval cobblestone streets and towering castles and churches. The Royal Mile is a popular tourist destination that runs from High Street section of Old Town down. It is the oldest section of the city. The Royal Mile area itself is actually 5 separate streets within the Old Town and it is worth it to explore all of them

One of the most iconic landmarks in Edinburgh is Edinburgh Castle, a medieval fortress perched atop a volcanic rock and offering breathtaking views of the city. The castle is home to the Scottish Crown Jewels and the Stone of Destiny, a powerful symbol of the country’s royal heritage.

The Scott Monument, a towering Victorian Gothic monument, is a popular attraction and offers panoramic views of this charmoing city. The city’s many churches and cathedrals, including St. Giles Cathedral and Greyfriars Kirk, are also beautiful examples of architecture.

  • Edinburgh Itinerary in 3 Days
  • Where to Stay in Edinburgh – A Guide To The Best Places and Neighborhoods
  • 15 Best Cities in Scotland To Visit in 2023
  • 22 Best Things To Do in Edinburgh, Scotland

33. Kyiv, Ukraine

beautiful cities in europe kyiv

Sadly, Kyiv and Ukraine are suffering from Russia’s invasion so travel here is not happening in 2023 but we want to let the people know that they are in our hearts and minds. This is a beautiful city in Europe that we hope will survive and we hope the war ends soon so that the people of Ukraine can have their lives back. Read more about Kyiv at Unusual Things to Do in Kyiv, Ukraine

We traveled to Kyiv while taking part in the Mongol Rally. It was one of the best cities we stopped in during our overland journey from England to Mongolia. It’s filled with Orthodox Churches and cathedrals, wide avenues, and lovely ornate buildings all stemming out from Independence Square. During the Mongol Rally, we went through Ukraine and Russia, and while we are infuriated with Putin

34. San Marino

Most Beautiful Cities in Europe San Marino

San Marino  is a city and an independent republic in the middle of Italy. It sits high on a hill overlooking possibly the most beautiful view we’ve ever seen from a city. It overlooks the Italian Apennines, rivaling the beauty of Tuscany . San Marino is the oldest surviving sovereign state in the world and it’s known as the Serene Republic. Serene it is indeed. Get Your Complete Guide to World Heritage Sites

35. Oia, Santorini – Greece

most beautiful cities in europe santorini

I debated whether to put Oia, Santorini into this post or not. Is it a city or is it a destination? But considering it is one of the prettiest places we have ever been in our lives, we couldn’t leave our beautiful cities to visit in Europe list without mentioning this urban center located on a small island.

I don’t think there is a more beautiful spot on earth than overlooking the Caldera from the whitewashed buildings of Oia. Sure, Santorini was created to be a tourist destination, but it ended up being a masterpiece. So, we end with one of the top bucket list destinations in Europe and will let you debate whether it should be on our list or not.

  • 25 of The Very Best Things to do in Santorini
  • Where to Stay in Santorini: Best Hotels and Towns
  • Photography Guide to Santorini
  • The Best Places to Visit in Santorini, Greece
  • Iconic Santorini – A Cave Hotel Experience

And these are the most beautiful cities in Europe according to Dave and Deb. Europe is such a vast continent. It may be small in area, but it is huge in population and urban centers. From Russia to Greece or Northern Europe’s Scandinavia countries to Istanbul straddling two continents, there are so many cities to visit in Europe it will take a lifetime to see them all. But we are going to do our best!

Do you have any additions to our beautiful cities to visit in Europe? Do you think some of our suggestions are downright crazy? We want to know! 

Enjoy browsing these beautiful cities?  Save this article to Pinterest for future travel planning

beautiful cities in europe

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157 thoughts on “35 Most Beautiful Cities in Europe to See This Year”

A bit surprised Naples is not in the ranking (if Edinburgh and Wien are). Notwithstanding some of its problems, it’s worth a top position as for beauty, art and culture

in Paris I like Eiffel Tower but I recommend you to go Disneyland Paris its an amazing place

Warsaw – the capital city of Poland is really beautiful and modern. I can really recommend to visit it.

Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, is an incredibly beautiful city with a mediaeval Old Town and neo-classical New Town separated by the gorgeous Princes Street Gardens.

Absolutely, deserves to be in top 10.

World is so beautiful. I am so lucky that I born on this planet & I thankful my parents they gave birth on the earth. I couldn’t go outside India, but through media Imagine the beautiful world. Thanks everyone who is trying to bring things up to me.

Great list! I’ve been to a little more than half of these. Bern and Bergen both sound incredible! Thanks for putting it together

If you ever visit Edinburgh in Scotland and Turin in Italy, I’m sure you would add them to your list!

Frankly, I’ve always thought of London as an impressive city, but not a beautiful one. To me, Paris was built by artists — London was built by bureaucrats. My choice for beautiful city that’s often overlooked is Salzburg, Austria. There’s a palace in the middle of town where scenes from the Sound of Music were filmed, and the major buildings in the old quarter were influenced by classic Italian achitecture. And of course, there’s Mozart and the music …

I would love to go to Salzburg.

Yes its one of the best cities in Europe. Zell am see near Salzburg is also beautiful.

Any list is imperfect by definition. In your case, for a start you miss many nice places for not having been to them. And then beauty is a very subjective concept. Nice effort anyway and I am happy to say that I have been to all 31 sites you mention. Plus many others you don’t, like St. Petersburg, Riga, Vilnius, Gdansk, Krakow, Bratislava, Dresden, Salzburg, Annecy, Bruges, Ghent, Edinburgh, Cambridge, Verona, Dubrovnik or Granada. All of them worth being in such a list, for me far more than Helsinki, Reykjavik or Dublin, that are interesting places, or call them exotic if you want, but not really beautiful. Europe is amazing, and there is no country or region that is not worth a visit.

Well I’ve only been to 7/31 so far…so I’ve got some traveling to do!

I lived in Florence for 3-months during University and have been to Prague twice. I highly recommend both cities!

Copenhagen, Budapest, and Berlin are next up on my list!

Brussels a beautiful city? And Dublin’s skyscrapers adds to its beauty? I don’t think I’m on the same page at all with the writer 😀 I prefer cities with old and beuatiful architecture and nice views. Brussels used to have an old town too, but most of it was bombed in WW2, and now it is mostly just a very small part of town that has old architecture.

Where is Zagreb (if you prefer Austro-Hungarian architecture) or Split (more of a Roman style)

Where is Moscow, the unreal, and the iconic city. And where is Amsterdam, the city with flowers and river canals. Not just moscow and amsterdam and your listed city is beautiful. Every city of europe is beautiful with their style, place, climate, architecture, people, street and many more.

Unfortunately we haven’t been to Moscow Personally. We only included cities that we have been to. It’s been a long time since we have been to Amsterdam, but I really should add it to our list, I didnt’ think of it and will definitely do more research. Cheers!

In that case I will encourage you to visit Spain, because it´s funny there´s only one city on the list from the world´s second most visited country on earth.

Interesting list. If you’re only including cities you have visited (good idea), it would be great if you were to visit Edinburgh, Riga, Vienna, Turin, Bordeaux, Lyon, Toulouse, Lubeck, Bruges, Heidelberg, Munich, Stockholm, Dresden, Leipzig, Bonn, Bratislava and Ljubljana. It would be interesting to see how you rate them.

Where is Edinburgh???

We haven’t been to Edinburgh personally and only included cities that we have visited. WE have a wonderful guest writer that has written about Edinburgh though and as soon as we do visit, we will be sure to add it!

I like your blog but there’s something missing, Lisbon. Budapest is veautiful no doubt but not the most beautiful over the water, that would Lisbon. Visit it asap and see if I’am right….

So no love for Madrid or Sevilla or the Canary islands…

And Sevilla? Sevilla is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe!!!

We haven’t been, but would love to go and when we do, we will be able to add it to our list!

Have you been to bled in Slovenia it is so stunning and beautiful

MADRID??? It is completely incredulous that Madrid is not pretty much at top of this list – it is infinitely more beautiful and with more cultural depth to it than the vast majority of cities listed here! And to note the one unique aspect of Madrid that no other city in Europe shares: an incredibly deep blue sky almost every single day of the year due to its position as the capital city of highest altitude in Europe!

No Vienna on the list? After Paris, It’s probably the most beautiful city in Europe.

Its subjective what makes a city beautiful. Personally I like authenticity and places that have become less spoiled and wrapped up in globalisation and convenience.

I love Tallinn, Rome, Budapest and Brussels and they’d probably be in my top 4 in some order.

Riga is a lovely city with amazing Art Nouveau buildings. and I’d also have space for Ghent and Mechelen. Porto has a beauty to it and Innsbruck, the dramatic mountains surrounding it are stunning. I’d have Stockholm ahead of Copenhagen and someone mentioned Wroclaw which is lovely with all the little gnomes and lots of spires.

I’d probably include Turin and Verona too, and much overlooked Luxembourg City. A quaint city with plenty of huge business on the outskirts, but a lovely core and valley with some grand buildings and structures.

I’d also recommend Rovinj in Croatia and finally looking closer to home in Britain…. Bristol is a beautiful city by the waterfront and up in Clifton.

Lovely article, thank you. May I recommend Wroclaw. The Christmas market is breathtakingly pretty.

i can say all european countries are stunning. i pray one day to be lucky and visit europe at least. #help me please any one

Berlin beautiful!? I live in Berlin. It is an extremely interesting city. No doubt about it! Beautiful? Nah! However, nearby Potsdam is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. London beautiful? Must be a joke! European cities like Urbino, Perugia or Susdal are true pleasures for our sore eyes. London and Berlin are just famous, big and capitals.

Berlin is wonderfully beautiful from Museum Island, around Unter den Linden then on to the fabulous Tiergarten and Zoo.

Agree with the most of your picks. But Definitely will change London with Viena . .. . Viena is one of the most beatiful pearls in the world. London ..well, London is definitely a must for visit but beatiful ..is too strong statement.

What of Hamburg

And where is Madrid, the most beautiful and liveable city of Europe?

VIENNA ist beautiful too.

Thessaloniki

I second that ^^

Surprised Edinburgh isn’t on the list.

Even more surprised that San Marino and Santorini are. They’re both beautiful, but they arent cities. You could put my living room on the list – it’s beautiful and also isn’t a city.

We haven’t been to Edinburgh so I can’t include it. This isn’t’ a list based on photographs from the Internet, it is a list based on where we have visited. I would love to see it one day though, and I am sure I will add it when I do. I actually stated that I debated Santorini, but then decided to go with Oia because it is so beautiful. It is the one place in Europe that literally took my breath away. San Marino is a republic, but the city of San Marino is the capital city of the republic. And it is beautiful. It’s a small city, but it is still a city.

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good list but i am surprised lisbon and edinburgh are not on there

We haven’t been to Lisbon or we would have included it. We hear it is beautiful. I cannot wait to visit one day.

The most beautiful city in Europe without doubt is Berlin Germany. No city in Europe can get any close to it.

We have since visited Berlin and agree. It’s not the typical beautiful city, but it is eclectic and filled with energy. So we added it to the list now that we have visited. Cheers

It is my first time to hear your claim. Are you okay btw ? I know berlin is very beautiful but to claim as number one is totally insane .

In my opinion i’d go with madrid,paris,rome,milan,lisbon,venice,berlin,london,brussels,barcelona as my top 10…i love the madrid city

We have yet to visit Madrid, Milan, or Lisbon, but I hear they are beautiful. I can’t wait to get back to Europe to see them in person. Then I will be able to update this list!

Were is Lisbon? Not only should be in your list, it also must be in the top of your list…

When we visit Lisbon I am sure we’ll add it. We haven’t been personally, but we have had some other bloggers write guest posts for us about it and they say it is beautiful. I can’t wait to see it in person.

WOW, EXCELLENT… I LOVED BUDAPEST… LOOK HOW BEAUTIFUL IS THE NIGHT VIEW… IT JUST LOOK AWESOME… IT LOOK SO RICH AND BEAUTIFUL… THANK YOU FOR SHARING THESE 17 MOST BEAUTIFUL PLACES IN EUROPE… KEEP POSTING AWESOME POSTS LIKE THIS…

How i cannot see Lisbon in the chart 🙁

That is because we didn’t spend enough time there, we were there for a short time a few years ago for a conference. For this post, we only shared where we had been personally.

Don’t forget edinburgh. Wonderful magical place. Amsterdam too

We can’t wait to visit Edinburgh. We have been to Amsterdam, but it was before we owned a digital camera. I wanted to include only places we’ve been to personally and could post a photo to go with hit. I’ll have to dig one out because yes, Amsterdam is beautiful.

Hi Dave & Deb,

Amazing choices! I been to Venice, Rome and Florence on my honeymoon and Barcelona, Granada, Seville and Madrid for our first anniversary this year, I think I am in LOVE with Europe. 🙂 Need some help to decide which other cities I can cover in Feb 2015 in 10 days.

Wow! You’ve seen a lot of Europe! I think you will have to give Budapest and Prague a try. I think you’ll love them.

Not sure if anyone else has mentioned it but Salzburg is almost impossibly picturesque.

But Europe has so many stunningly beautiful cities it’s almost unfair to rate them. Still, I thought I’d try! So here’s my list of the ten most beautiful European cities I’ve visited: -Salzburg -Vienna -Prague -Krakow -St Petersburg -Riga -Amsterdam -Bruges -Salamanca -Florence

You are right. So many beautiful cities I. Europe. We didn’t spend enough time in Salzburg but would love to go back and really discover it. Thanks for sharing your list!

Thanks for sharing. WE haven’t been to Krakow, St. Petersburg, Riga or Salamanca. Can’t wait to see them and add them to the list!

WOW! That photo of Barcelona is amazing!!! Did you guys take it?

TRAVEL BLOGGER: http://www.VanillaSkyDreaming.com

Yes we did. Cheers.

Great post! I’m glad you included Budapest, it’s often overlooked but it’s one of the most beautiful cities in the world! Yet I disagree with Barcelona being in the list, there are so many cities in Spain much more beautiful than Barcelona like Seville! Plus including Barcelona and not Madrid (which in my opinion is way more beautiful than BCN) would be like including Reims but not Paris, or Birmingham and not London… I would really recommend to visit Madrid if you haven’t yet. The list is great otherwise, Europe is such a fascinating continent!

Unfortunately we haven’t been to Madrid personally but when we go, I’m sure we’ll add it. Same with Seville.

I live in Budapest and a lot has changed since 1999, the city can hardly compare to now begin with a huge investment in the restoration of pre-war Castle which is the greatest spectacle will be in Budapest

This is well-sorted list of beautiful cities in the Europe. However, I do feel that cities like Vienna and St. Petersberg should have been included in the list. I have been to St. Petersburg, I loved the Russian architecture there, they are really a treat for the art lovers. I strongly feel the city should have featured in your list of beautiful European cities, but then Europe has so many beautiful cities that compiling a list is really difficult.

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Thanks for the heads up! We haven’t been to St. Petersberg yet, but it’s definitely on our list and I’m sure we’ll be adding it to another list when we see it with our own eyes

Beauty is so subjective, but you’ve managed to include my top 3 picks – Paris (my spiritual home), Barcelona, which would probably be my favorite if I spoke Spanish or Catalan, and Istanbul – my current crush. All very different, but vibrant, stunning to look at and deeply proud of their cultures

Krakow is definitely one of my favourite European cities and like a lot of Eastern Europe, it’s pretty underrated. To me, the juxtaposition of the largely rundown Jewish quarters with the fairytale like Old Town is extremely interesting. I spent nearly 3 months in Poland a couple of years ago and loved every minute of it!

This is a great list! Paris, Barcelona & London are some of my other top European cities too 🙂

We have heard that Krakow is beautiful. I hope to go one day. We only included places we’ve visited, but when we go, I’m sure it will be added.

I love this post is a tribute for Europe, but Valencia should be in the list before Barcelona (Valencia is more authentic), instead of Brussels should be Bruges (for me Bruges is very beautiful) and I think Lisbon should be in the list.

Great additions. We have been to Valencia and I didn’t think of it. I’ll look through my photos again. We have not been to Bruges, but have always wanted to go.

Great list, lots of wonderful cities I still have to visit. My top 10 European cities list would also include: Porto, Valencia and Lisbon.

Great additions. We’ve been to Porto and Valencia, we’ll have to revisit our photos and take a look at them. Porto was only a short 3 day trip for a conference, so I don’t think we gave it the attention it deserves.

Great choices, but Europe has enough beautiful cities for 3 more editions 🙂

Nice summary of europe 🙂 For me the best city in Barcelona. I really love Spain and the people in Barcelona are friendly all the time. Furthermore there are a lot of inhabitants from middle and south america. Awesome mix of cultures 🙂

They are really 13 amazing cities to visit. This year I’m on my way to Barcelona and I must say your picture looks more than promising.

Can’t disagree with any of these choices. Great photos too.

Great post Dave and Deb. Since there are still countries in Europe I haven’t visited yet. This post is very helpful for me for specific destinations for my travelling plan.

An amazing place with such natural delights. I will surely plan my upcoming vacation to this place. thanks for posting nice views.

Amazing pictures and some of the cities I’ve been to. Wish I had spent more time in Florence than in Rome though.

Amsterdam is definitely missing. The city is not only just nice, it is the coolest place in Europe.

Okay, there are 3 cities on your list I haven’t visited. Obviously I’m falling down on the job of touring Italy because I missed San Marino and Bologna. The other city I haven’t visited is Brussels – except to whiz through on the train. Back to Europe I go! PS Astounding photos as usual.

I adored the Italian cities of Rome and Venice. Your photos are stunning! I should make the effort to learn HDR photography this summer. Always loved seeing the effects, but I never learned the technique.

Ick. The HDR is such a turnoff and doesn’t represent how any of those cities actually appear in real life…

Your pictures are beautiful. I don’t know what HDR is but I think it’s great. I’ve traveled a lot with my daughter throughout Europe and loved it all. Spain and Portugal are high on my list. Did love London because of all the history. Spent some time in Shanghai, China. It’s so crowded but loved all the temples and the parks. They do have a lot of green spaces. Get to go to Latvia in November. Looking forward to that and traveling to all the countries near by.

Thanks Deanna. HDR Is a process that takes several different exposures of one scene and then you blend the photos together. The human eye sees all the exposures at once, but normally a camera can only focus on one, so if there is a blue sky and rich green scenery, you only see one or the other in a photograph. With HDR, you see it all. We loved Shanghai too. We’re going to have to do the best cities around the world one day soon,but we’re lacking in our South America travels, We’ve only been to Peru and Ecuador on that continent so once we get more SA cities, we’ll have to do a round up. I think we can do Asian cities though easily, I believe we’ve seen most of them. You’ve got me thinking 🙂

I think that Prague is probably the most beautiful city in the entire world, let alone Europe! I’d also argue that Madrid, Granada and Lisbon should make the list. I’ve just moved to Riga, Latvia and, from what I’ve seen so far, this place is also quite stunning. That’s the trouble with Europe – every place you visit is more charming than the last!

Great choices Heather. We didn’t spend enough time in Lisbon. We were only there a couple of days, and although it was pretty walking in the old town, I don’t think we got to see it from the proper vantage point. I must go back. Ooh, we haven’t been to Latvia yet, you must keep us posted how it is. I’ll keep checking out your blog for updates!

I beleive Athens should be in the list too.Just came back from there and was awsome.The places to visit were just numberless.Visited almost every place seen in a video guides’ site ( http://www.myathens.tv/en/ if you are interested which site was it) . Cheers!

Thanks Hugh, we’re going to Athens in October and I have a feeling it will be added to our list for sure!

I’m sure you going to enjoy all of your days there!

Aw, thanks for the shout-out guys! And I agree. Grand Place still takes my breath away even after 9 years of living here.

So glad that Grand Place is still beautiful to you too! We still think it is gorgeous!

INDEED!!!!! Paris is the most beautiful city EVER!!!! Summed up in one word: MESMORIZING. It may also be considered the sexiest city in the world:)

So glad to hear that you agree! We do love Paris.

OOh, I like that description too. that could be a whole other post.

Not sure about Budapest and Bern. Although Budapest looks very good on “paper”, I got there during a heat wave in 1999. It was hot, humid, smelly (everybody smoked), people were unfriendly, and I almost got pick-pocketed while trying to get that night view from the bridge. As you say, experiences are subjective. Bern has a nice view from that high point above the river, but because of the covered walkways, your views are often limited. I was in Brussels for the first time less than two weeks ago and the Grand Place is definitely impressive!

Beautiful cities not on your list: Dubrovnik, Ljubljana, Lisbon, Salzburg, Lyon European cities I really want to visit next: Prague, Berlin, Krakow, Seville, Istanbul. So many places! 🙂

A heat wave can turn off almost everone 🙂 1999 is a lot different than today too. Everybody smoked in Toronto in 1999 as well. I din’t really notice the smokers and I’m quite sensitive to it, so maybe it’s not so bad anymore. Italy and Spain is where I noticed a lot of smoking still going on. It’s funny, the covered walkways are what I love about Bern 🙂 Glad we agree on Grand Place! We’ve been to Croatia, but didn’t get to Dubrovnik, I can see it being beautiful as the smaller cities we visited there were lovely. Cheers!

Absolutely fantastic imagery to represent each of these incredible cities. I’m making Budapest my 8th out of those 13 later this year. Fingers crossed to add Istanbul and Bologna within the next year too! Happy travels.

Fantastic and thank you! We hope you enjoy Budapest. It is really a beautiful city. And Istanbul is so unique you are going to love it as well. We traveled from Istanbul to Budapest when we went. Maybe you’ll be able to go from Budapest to Istanbul 🙂

Wow what a great list, I can’t wait to explore Europe more. I have visited a few on your list but that was when I worked on cruise ships and you get such a small amount of time in port its hard to really discover the best, hidden parts of a city. Stunning pics as always – I can’t wait to see these sights for myself.

What a great way to see the world! Working on a cruise ships gives you a taste of everything and then you can go back later to explore in depth. Appreciate the comment!

Nice list! I totally agree with Rome, Barcelona and Prague, my favourites! Have you been to Oslo or other cities in Norway yet? I think you will like Norway, with it’s mountains and fjords, midnight sun and northern lights.

We haven’t been to Oslo yet. We’re hoping to get more Scandinavia travel under our belt next year. (fingers crossed) I have a feeling this list will change a lot over the years as we explore more.

We’re definitely hoping to get to Norway next year.

I remember the first time I went to Europe I actually considered skipping Paris as I was worried it was too cliché. What a mistake that would have been. Paris truly is the world’s most beautiful city, although I do have a soft spot in my soul for Madrid 🙂

It’s true isn’t it Mike? Even after visiting so many European Cities, we still love Paris. We haven’t truly explored Madrid yet, so we’ll have to get back and explore some more.

Great images! You missed Dubrovnik though! Just beautiful!

I know! we didn’t make it to Dubrovnik when we were in Croatia. But judging from the parts of the country we visited, I bet it is beautiful. We visited Rijeka and the islands of Rab, Krk and and Cres. The towns on these islands were absolutely beautiful and we nearly considered including one of them but thought that they probably weren’t large enough.

Sometimes I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I love Venice because so many people complain that it’s too touristy. It’s definitely crowded – particularly if you stick to the big sites – but, for me, it still has this magical feeling about it that even the crowds can’t take away.

I know how you feel Jessica. We love Venice and Paris and many people think that you have to go for the more obscure choices, but there’s a reason these places have always been so popular. They are beautiful! Same with us, even the crowds are ok. getting lost in the back streets is a wonderful way to escape them.

Dubrovnik, Amsterdam, Siena, Stockholm, Monaco, Seville… 😉

Great choices! We forgot about Monaco. I think it is only because we simply drove through it quickly. We wanted to say that we popped into see it, but didn’t spend enough time exploring. We’ve got to get to Dubrovnik. We loved Croatia and hear it is beautiful.

I am on your blog after a while and I’m happy to be treated with gorgeous photos of Europe! My personal favorites are cities in Italy. I’m not sure about Paris, because I have heard it is getting dirty and too much of construction going on.

Thanks Renuka! Hopefully you’ll be able to give Paris a try and see what you think. Some people love it some people hate it. I think either way, people always have a strong opinion of the city.

I have to agree with Lucas. I have been following your blog for years, but the excessive use of HDR in travel photography has gotten excessive. When I want to think dream and learn about travel, I want to see what things REALLY look like. I respect HDR as an art form, but I don’t think it should be a default for travel photojournalism. The surreal approach is a turn off (and at the end of the day appears to be the tool of a weak photographer – which I know you are not as you have posted some other lovely pictures). But the majority of your 11 here are posted as HDR and I think that does a disservice to the beauty of these actual cities. Maybe consider taking a break?

Thanks for your comment Alyssa and I am sorry that you feel that way about HDR in travel photography. I have personally found it a great way to increase my creativity around the places that we visit. For some it works for others it does not. HDR is certainly not the only type of photography I practice as you can see if you have a look though other posts and our gallery. As for your comment that HDR is the tool of a weak photographer this is applying a broad stroke to the subject. I know quite a few wonderful and successful travel photographers that use HDR in a lot of their work and that would beg to differ with your opinion. As I replied to Lucas above, photography is an art and therefore based on personal taste. As far as doing a disservice to these places I think you may have blown that a little out of proportion. If you look around there are millions of photos of each destinations on the net. These are just our interpretation of them. Beauty after all is in the eye of the beholder 🙂 Thank you again for your comment and I hope you will continue to read and visit The Planet D.

Yes those are some of my favorite cities because they are so photo worthy and too many incredible places to visit with scenic vistas and amazing views.

Love the list could only imagine how difficult it was to pick top 10. I know Dublin didn’t make top 10 but look at competition, maybe next trip go the city park “Phoenix Park” where you will find 10 square miles of park land including Dublin zoo, presidents house, US embassy and papal cross among the wild deer.

I know eh. We had Dublin on the list. It’s definitely in our top 12. I think Dublin can go down as one of the coolest cities in Europe. That’s where we’d place it alongside Berlin.

Brussels is an under-appreciated city. I hear far too many people dismiss it–but it is gorgeous. (Just got back from Amsterdam–also beautiful, Ruby).

And, wow, your photo of Casa Batllo is way better than any I took.

Great list (and pictures)!! I completely agree with Paris – it seems cliche, but no European city can top Paris in my option either! I personally would have swapped Bruges for Brussels, but there are so many beautiful cities in Europe, hard to narrow it down to 10!

5 out of 10 are in Italy………what more can i say?

Amsterdam didn’t make the list??? It’s much more beautiful than Brussels.

This post just awaken my European Travel Dream! The cities are all magnificent and stunning!

Thanks Helen. I know exactly how you feel. We wrote this post because we were having such joyous conversations about our times in Europe, we started making a little list as we talked and said, let’s share!

I recently visited Prague, Budapest and Vienna. Each city was beautiful but Budapest in night was something magical. I never knew a city can look so different in day and night. River cruise in Danube was the highlight of my trip. Hope to see rest of cities in above list in upcoming years 🙂

Ah yes, Vienna. We had thought about including it, but it just didn’t do for us what it has done for others. I think I must go back and give it another try. Sometimes a city can grow on you after another visit. I agree as well about the Danube. The first time we were in Budapest, we didn’t cruise the Danube, we just walked along the riverfront, but when we went a second time and saw it from the river, it was even more outstanding.

Krakow rocks with its Medieval churches, castles, fun underground bars and amazing squares. Well worth a visit.

We agree, we have to get to Krakow!

*Sigh* what a terrific feature and beautiful pics thanks SO much 🙂 PS London always deserves a spot, you are right!

Thank you! I’m glad you agree with London, we thought it was beautiful, but I know that everyone has different tastes.

I have been to many places on this list and agree with most! We visited Budapest in April and were blown away by its beauty especially at night as you mentioned. We have also just returned from Dublin which is also beautiful. I do love Hamburg though after I spent sometime on work experience there whilst at university and also Moscow with st Basil’s and the metro is an amazing sight. Visiting krakow later in the year and as mentioned I have heard it is very nice. Have to give a shout out to Edinburgh too. Prague is also one of my favourite places in Europe. Nice list! 🙂

Hi Nic, great addition about Dublin. We almost put in on the list. We were just there last month and loved it. We found it to be a bit like Berlin, a very cool city with a fun hip vibe, but it wasn’t the traditionally beautiful city we were thinking of. I can understand why you’d add it though, we had a bit of a discussion about it. We have yet to visit Hamburg, but I have heard it is beautiful. We love the conversation it is sparking about what cities are beautiful and which ones are not, it raises our wanderlust even more. We’re going to see Edinburgh in October, can’t wait! And Moscow has been a dream of ours for quite some time. Thanks for sharing!

Updated URL for my website! 🙂

Galway, Edinburgh and Berlin would make my list. Brussels wouldn’t make my top 100 and London would be just outside top 10. Otherwise I agree, good choices!

Galway is nice too. Good choice, maybe we should have taken a closer look at things when we were there. We haven’t been to Edinburgh but are going in October. Hopefully we’ll feel the same way. Berlin is definitely the coolest city in Europe. For us it is not the most beautiful of them all, but definitely the hippest and coolest of them all for sure. We loved it too!

I suggest Lisbon too…very picturesque !

We have been to Lisbon, but only spent a couple of days there. WE didn’t get to explore it as much as we would have liked. Hopefully we’ll have more time there in the future and it can make it.

Beautiful photos! Agree with all nominations except for Brussels, never enjoyed it there…probably cause I’ve been there too much for work.

Ah yes, when you spend too much time at a place for work it can turn you off. I think Brussels stays with us because we saw it on one of our first trips to Europe and we were blown away by the square then. It has a special place in our hearts.

Europe is a very beautiful place and these are some very nice pictures. Thank you for sharing this as I believe traveling will help you live longer as you enjoy this beautiful world.

Wow- stunning photos! Especially the one of Florence.

I wish Ferrara was on your list!

Ferrara we a great town and it nearly made the list. There are so many beautiful cities in Italy. We loved Ferrara too but it just didn’t quite make it. But definitely in the top 20 for us. 🙂

Bergen is very beautiful. Just sayin’, guys 🙂

Thanks Sophie, we haven’t been to Bergen, but we’ll definitely check it out. We’ll be doing more of Europe this year, so we’ll have to do a follow up piece next year for sure as we add more. We’ll keep it always to 13 so we’ll have to either take away.

nice compilation, however I really dislike your use of HDR pictures (always look like radioactive vomit)!

Thanks for stopping by Lucas. HDR is not for everyone and I don’t use it all of the time. One of the things that I love about photography is that it is subjective. What one person likes perhaps another doesn’t. I hope you have been able to peruse our gallery and enjoy some of the other images we have posted.

I’ve been to several of these cities and I agree wholeheartedly with them being on the list.

Thanks Zoe, it’s always subjective which cities to include, but these ones usually are favoruites.

Europe is the best! It has many nice places to visit. My target ones are the Venice and Paris. 🙂

two great choices for cities!

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Love Exploring

30 Under-The-Radar European Cities You Simply Have To Visit

Posted: October 27, 2023 | Last updated: October 27, 2023

Charming Danube River cities, former European Capitals of Culture and fascinating Eastern European cities – these destinations often get overlooked in favor of bigger and glitzier neighbors, but wrongly so. From capitals overshadowed by more famous second cities to compact places few people have heard of, we take a look at 30 under-the-radar European cities to visit.

Best European cities to visit

A hilltop fairy-tale castle, 14th-century cathedral, cobbled streets and ornate palaces – Bratislava has plenty of wow factor. The former capital of Royal Hungary, this Danube River city was once renowned as a major center for classical music before communism took hold. Today, the city is proud of its historic and colorful 18th-century center, fascinating communist-era architecture and modern, green neighborhoods.

Bratislava, Slovakia

<p>Bustling beer halls, hip coffee shops, peaceful parks, graceful Art Nouveau villas, old orthodox churches and mammoth communist-era structures, there's a lot to see in this Eastern European city. Highlights in Bucharest include visiting the colossal Palace of Parliament (constructed by former dictator Nicolae Ceauşescu), watching a performance in the gorgeous <a href="https://www.fge.org.ro/">Romanian Athenaeum</a> and relaxing in the pretty Cişmigiu Gardens. </p>

Bucharest, Romania

Bustling beer halls, hip coffee shops, peaceful parks, graceful Art Nouveau villas, old orthodox churches and mammoth communist-era structures, there's a lot to see in this Eastern European city. Highlights in Bucharest include visiting the colossal Palace of Parliament (constructed by former dictator Nicolae Ceauşescu), watching a performance in the gorgeous Romanian Athenaeum and relaxing in the pretty Cişmigiu Gardens. 

The capital of a little nation often overlooked by travelers, Luxembourg City has a fairy-tale feel about it with a grand palace overlooking quaint, cobbled streets. Surrounded by forest-clad valleys and vineyards, it's an ideal destination for gourmands – there's an impressive number of restaurants featured in the Michelin Guide, nine of which have received at least one star.

Luxembourg City, Luxembourg

The capital of a little nation often overlooked by travelers, Luxembourg City has a fairy-tale feel about it with a grand palace overlooking quaint, cobbled streets. Surrounded by forest-clad valleys and vineyards, it's an ideal destination for gourmands – there's an impressive number of restaurants featured in the Michelin Guide, eight of which have received at least one star.

Read more about Luxembourg here

<p>With an UNESCO-listed medieval old town, regenerated riverside and a restaurant scene offering everything from modern new Nordic to traditional cookery, there's a lot to love about the Latvian capital. It's best to get a sense of its complex history through the eclectic mix of medieval, Gothic, Baroque and Art Nouveau buildings in the handsome city center, then head up to the spire of <a href="http://peterbaznica.riga.lv/">St Peter's Church</a> to take in the maze of terracotta roofs from above.</p>  <p><strong><a href="https://www.loveexploring.com/guides/67280/things-to-do-in-riga-hotels">Read our full guide to Riga here</a></strong></p>

Riga, Latvia

With an UNESCO-listed medieval old town, regenerated riverside and a restaurant scene offering everything from modern new Nordic to traditional cookery, there's a lot to love about the Latvian capital. It's best to get a sense of its complex history through the eclectic mix of medieval, Gothic, Baroque and Art Nouveau buildings in the handsome city centre, then head up to the spire of St Peter's Church to take in the maze of terracotta roofs from above.

Read our full guide to Riga here

<p>One of Europe's most energetic capitals, Belgrade has plenty of buzz about it. With cool clubs (its summer barge parties along the Danube and Sava rivers are legendary), eclectic music scene, creative community and clutch of designer hotels, Belgrade is becoming quite the hip destination. Add to that the city's handsome old town, ancient citadel and regenerated riverside districts, it's a wonder this Danube River city isn't on more travelers' must-visit list.</p>  <p><a href="http://bit.ly/3roL4wv"><strong>Love this? Follow our Facebook page for more travel inspiration</strong></a></p>

Belgrade, Serbia

One of Europe's most energetic capitals, Belgrade has plenty of buzz about it. With cool clubs (its summer barge parties along the Danube and Sava rivers are legendary), eclectic music scene, creative community and clutch of designer hotels, Belgrade is becoming quite the hip destination. Add to that the city's handsome old town, ancient citadel and regenerated riverside districts, it's a wonder this Danube River city isn't on more travelers' must-visit list.

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<p>It's renowned for art and culture but Vienna is all too often edged out by schmaltzy Salzburg. Those that bypass Vienna do so mistakenly. The riches of the <a href="https://www.khm.at/en/">Kunsthistorisches Museum</a> with its Rembrandts, Vermeers and Rubens are worth planning a visit around alone. Then there's the prestigious <a href="https://www.wiener-staatsoper.at/en/">Vienna State Opera</a>, magnificent <a href="https://www.wien.info/en/sightseeing/sights/st-stephens-cathedral-359690">St Stephen's Cathedral</a>, splendid Baroque palaces and the array of beautiful Art Nouveau coffee houses. In winter its pretty squares are usually flooded with festive markets.</p>

Vienna, Austria

It's renowned for art and culture but Vienna is all too often edged out by schmaltzy Salzburg. Those that bypass Vienna do so mistakenly. The riches of the Kunsthistorisches Museum with its Rembrandts, Vermeers and Rubens are worth planning a visit around alone. Then there's the prestigious Vienna State Opera , magnificent St Stephen's Cathedral , splendid Baroque palaces and the array of beautiful Art Nouveau coffee houses. In winter its pretty squares are usually flooded with festive markets.

<p>Vilnius might be small but when it comes to attractions, this former European Capital of Culture is a big hitter. It boasts the largest medieval old town in central and eastern Europe with ample parks, squares, historic churches, bars, cafés and restaurants to amuse you. Walking up Castle Hill to <a href="https://www.govilnius.lt/visit-vilnius/places/the-gediminas-tower">Gediminas' Tower</a>, the city's best-known landmark, then meandering through the winding lanes below and watching the city go by in the bustling Cathedral Square is one of the best ways to spend a perfect day in the Lithuanian capital.</p>  <p><a href="https://www.loveexploring.com/guides/93457/city-break-lithuania-vilnius-the-top-things-to-do-where-to-stay-and-what-to-eat-2020"><strong>Discover more about Vilnius with our guide</strong></a></p>

Vilnius, Lithuania

Vilnius might be small but when it comes to attractions, this former European Capital of Culture is a big hitter. It boasts the largest medieval old town in central and eastern Europe with ample parks, squares, historic churches, bars, cafés and restaurants to amuse you. Walking up Castle Hill to Gediminas' Tower , the city's best-known landmark, then meandering through the winding lanes below and watching the city go by in the bustling Cathedral Square is one of the best ways to spend a perfect day in the Lithuanian capital.

Discover more about Vilnius with our guide

<p>With plenty of museums, galleries and a lively nightlife, it's surprising that Sofia isn't on more city break hot lists. Dominated by the vast, domed <a href="https://www.cathedral.bg/en/home/">St Alexander Nevsky Cathedral</a>, Bulgaria's capital is stunning and best explored on foot to take in the magnificent buildings, from the National Theatre to former mineral baths. There are plenty of green spaces to wander around as well, like <a href="https://borisovagradina.com/">Borisova Gradina</a>, the city's oldest park.</p>  <p><a href="https://www.loveexploring.com/galleries/89604/the-worlds-beautiful-cathedrals-you-should-visit-once-in-your-lifetime?page=1"><strong>Take a look at the world's most beautiful cathedrals</strong></a></p>

Sofia, Bulgaria

With plenty of museums, galleries and a lively nightlife, it's surprising that Sofia isn't on more city break hot lists. Dominated by the vast, domed St Alexander Nevsky Cathedral , Bulgaria's capital is stunning and best explored on foot to take in the magnificent buildings, from the National Theatre to former mineral baths. There are plenty of green spaces to wander around as well, like Borisova Gradina , the city's oldest park.

Take a look at the world's most beautiful cathedrals

<p>Podgorica is another diminutive city that's unlikely to bowl you over with its beauty, but the Adriatic nation's capital is worthy of a stop en route to blissful beaches, wineries and mountains. Built around the confluence of the Ribnica and Morača rivers, Podgorica has striking bridges, pretty parks and some remainders of its Ottoman-era old town, such as the 17th-century Clock Tower. Petrović Castle, set within a lovely park in the charming Kruševac area, houses the city’s Centre for Modern Arts.</p>

Podgorica, Montenegro

Podgorica is another diminutive city that's unlikely to bowl you over with its beauty, but the Adriatic nation's capital is worthy of a stop en route to blissful beaches, wineries and mountains. Built around the confluence of the Ribnica and Morača rivers, Podgorica has striking bridges, pretty parks and some remainders of its Ottoman-era old town, such as the 17th-century Clock Tower. Petrović Castle, set within a lovely park in the charming Kruševac area, houses the city’s Centre for Modern Arts.

<p>The sun-drenched Mediterranean archipelago might be best known for its beaches, but the ancient capital is equally alluring and perfectly proportioned for a weekend break. There are lavish palazzos and centuries-old churches, such as the awe-inspiring <a href="https://www.maltauncovered.com/best-places-to-visit-attractions/st-johns-co-cathedral/">St John's Co-Cathedral</a> (which contains original paintings by Caravaggio). The formidable Grand Harbour is a highlight – the Upper Barrakka Gardens are great for panoramic views over this former European Capital of Culture.</p>  <p><a href="https://www.loveexploring.com/news/73530/valletta-itinerary-things-to-do"><strong>Read our guide to Valletta here</strong></a></p>

Valletta, Malta

The sun-drenched Mediterranean archipelago might be best known for its beaches, but the ancient capital is equally alluring and perfectly proportioned for a weekend break. There are lavish palazzos and centuries-old churches, such as the awe-inspiring St John's Co-Cathedral (which contains original paintings by Caravaggio). The formidable Grand Harbour is a highlight – the Upper Barrakka Gardens are great for panoramic views over this former European Capital of Culture.

Read our guide to Valletta here

<p>Straight out of the pages of a fairy-tale book, little Liechtenstein is one of Europe's least-visited countries. The German speaking principality sits between Switzerland and Austria, and its capital Vaduz is surrounded by some seriously majestic alpine scenery. Views aside, its best-known landmark is the 12th-century Vaduz Castle, the official residence of the Prince of Lichtenstein.</p>  <p><a href="https://www.loveexploring.com/galleries/94624/stunning-images-of-europes-most-adorable-small-towns-and-villages?page=1"><strong>Take a look at stunning images of Europe's most adorable small towns</strong></a></p>

Vaduz, Liechtenstein

Straight out of the pages of a fairy-tale book, little Liechtenstein is one of Europe's least-visited countries. The German speaking principality sits between Switzerland and Austria, and its capital Vaduz is surrounded by some seriously majestic alpine scenery. Views aside, its best-known landmark is the 12th-century Vaduz Castle, the official residence of the Prince of Lichtenstein.

Take a look at stunning images of Europe's most adorable small towns

<p>Declared the Turkish capital after the fall of the Ottoman Empire in 1923, cosmopolitan Ankara typically loses out to package vacation destinations or alluring Istanbul. But the city has a fascinating history beyond its status as the capital and its mix of modern and historical architecture is very telling of its past. Ankara Castle, Museum of Anatolian Civilizations and Anıtkabir – the mausoleum of the first president of the Turkish Republic, Ataturk – are among the best historic attractions, while the sprawling Gençlik Park has an amusement park, two miniature trains and over 40 kiosks selling all manner of wares.</p>

Ankara, Turkey

Declared the Turkish capital after the fall of the Ottoman Empire in 1923, cosmopolitan Ankara typically loses out to package holiday destinations or alluring Istanbul. But the city has a fascinating history beyond its status as the capital and its mix of modern and historical architecture is very telling of its past. Ankara Castle, Museum of Anatolian Civilizations and Anıtkabir – the mausoleum of the first president of the Turkish Republic, Ataturk – are among the best historic attractions, while the sprawling Gençlik Park has an amusement park, two miniature trains and over 40 kiosks selling all manner of wares.

<p>With its well-preserved medieval old town, snow-covered Alpine backdrop and the pretty River Aare, Bern is a lovely city. The laid-back vibe means it doesn't feel like a bustling capital – and all the better for it. The arcaded streets of its UNESCO-listed historic area are perfect for pottering, with plenty of small shops and cafés. Top attractions include the Zytglogge (clocktower), <a href="https://www.bern.com/en/detail/the-bern-minster">Gothic Bern Minster</a>, <a href="https://www.kunstmuseumbern.ch/en/startseite-englisch-121.html">Museum of Fine Arts</a>, <a href="https://www.bern.com/en/detail/einstein-house">Einstein House</a> and the <a href="https://www.bhm.ch/en/exhibitions/einstein-museum/">Einstein Museum</a>.</p>

Bern, Switzerland

With its well-preserved medieval old town, snow-covered Alpine backdrop and the pretty River Aare, Bern is a lovely city. The laid-back vibe means it doesn't feel like a bustling capital – and all the better for it. The arcaded streets of its UNESCO-listed historic area are perfect for pottering, with plenty of small shops and cafés. Top attractions include the Zytglogge (clocktower), Gothic Bern Minster , Museum of Fine Arts , Einstein House and the Einstein Museum .

<p>The capital city of Europe's least-visited country (and third-smallest state) sits perched on the slopes of Mount Titano and commands amazing views of the Appenines. The car-free medieval center of Città, as it's commonly known, has ancient arches, ramparts and palazzi to explore. It might be small but, as one of the world's oldest republics, it's steeped in character and history.</p>  <p><a href="https://www.loveexploring.com/galleries/103704/the-worlds-most-beautiful-medieval-cities?page=1"><strong>These are the world's most beautiful medieval cities</strong></a></p>

City of San Marino, San Marino

The capital city of Europe's least-visited country (and third-smallest state) sits perched on the slopes of Mount Titano and commands amazing views of the Appenines. The car-free medieval center of Città, as it's commonly known, has ancient arches, ramparts and palazzi to explore. It might be small but, as one of the world's oldest republics, it's steeped in character and history.

These are the world's most beautiful medieval cities

<p>Most visitors arriving in Ljubljana pass through quickly en route to Lake Bled and the Julian Alps. Big mistake – the city has one of the best-preserved medieval old towns in Europe, a vibrant festival scene, cutting-edge art galleries and sophisticated restaurants. The traffic-free historic center is a delight to explore with its mix of Renaissance, Baroque and Art Nouveau architecture. The hilltop castle offers excellent views while the <a href="https://www.nms.si/en/">National Museum of Slovenia</a> houses some of the country's most prized and ancient treasures.</p>

Ljubljana, Slovenia

Most visitors arriving in Ljubljana pass through quickly en route to Lake Bled and the Julian Alps. Big mistake – the city has one of the best-preserved medieval old towns in Europe, a vibrant festival scene, cutting-edge art galleries and sophisticated restaurants. The traffic-free historic center is a delight to explore with its mix of Renaissance, Baroque and Art Nouveau architecture. The hilltop castle offers excellent views while the National Museum of Slovenia houses some of the country's most prized and ancient treasures.

<p>Often shunned in favor of Arctic cruises and quaint Bergen further up the coast, Oslo has slowly been raising its profile. With a compact and walkable historic center, leafy green spaces and cutting-edge modern architecture, there's lots to love about this Nordic capital. Some of the top things to do here include walking up the roof of the ultra-modern <a href="https://operaen.no/en/">Oslo Opera House</a> and checking out the nearby <a href="https://deichman.no/">Deichman Library</a>, plus kayaking down the Oslofjord or exploring the islands and enjoying the city's bar scene.</p>  <p><a href="https://www.loveexploring.com/news/68926/what-to-do-in-oslo-sightseeing"><strong>Read more about Oslo in our guide</strong></a></p>

Oslo, Norway

Often shunned in favor of Arctic cruises and quaint Bergen further up the coast, Oslo has slowly been raising its profile. With a compact and walkable historic center, leafy green spaces and cutting-edge modern architecture, there's lots to love about this Nordic capital. Some of the top things to do here include walking up the roof of the ultra-modern Oslo Opera House and checking out the nearby Deichman Library , plus kayaking down the Oslofjord or exploring the islands and enjoying the city's bar scene.

Read more about Oslo in our guide

<p>The political center of Europe, there's much more to Brussels than just the seat of the European Parliament and home to many other EU institutions. It's packed with museums and some of Europe's best architecture. The imposing Grand Place is a good way to start exploring the city and its quaint charm. The <a href="https://www.fine-arts-museum.be/en/museums/musee-fin-de-siecle-museum">Musée Fin-de-Siècle</a> is great for art lovers, while the <a href="https://visit.brussels/en/place/Belgian-Chocolate-Village">Belgian Chocolate Village</a>, an enormous space dedicated entirely to chocolate, is a must for those with a sweet tooth.</p>

Brussels, Belgium

The political center of Europe, there's much more to Brussels than just the seat of the European Parliament and home to many other EU institutions. It's packed with museums and some of Europe's best architecture. The imposing Grand Place is a good way to start exploring the city and its quaint charm. The Musée Fin-de-Siècle is great for art lovers, while the Belgian Chocolate Village , an enormous space dedicated entirely to chocolate, is a must for those with a sweet tooth.

<p>Founded by the Ottomans in the 15th century, Bosnia and Herzegovina's beautiful capital retains a lot of its Turkish heritage, especially in its atmospheric old bazaar and historic center Baščaršija. Known as the Jerusalem of Europe because of its religious diversity, with a Catholic church, synagogue and mosque sitting side by side, this is a place to saunter from cafés to its souk-like stalls. The <a href="http://tunelspasa.ba/#Dobrodo%C5%A1li">Tunnel of Hope</a> museum just outside the city center is an excellent place to learn what life was like during the 1992–96 siege, following the declaration of independence from Yugoslavia.</p>  <p><strong><a href="https://www.loveexploring.com/guides/106126/things-to-do-in-sarajevo-hotels-in-sarajevo">Check out our guide to Sarajevo</a></strong></p>

Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Founded by the Ottomans in the 15th century, Bosnia and Herzegovina's beautiful capital retains a lot of its Turkish heritage, especially in its atmospheric old bazaar and historic center Baščaršija. Known as the Jerusalem of Europe because of its religious diversity, with a Catholic church, synagogue and mosque sitting side by side, this is a place to saunter from cafés to its souk-like stalls. The Tunnel of Hope museum just outside the city center is an excellent place to learn what life was like during the 1992-96 siege, following the declaration of independence from Yugoslavia.

Check out our guide to Sarajevo

<p>There's a great energy about this proud city in Northern Ireland that is all too often overlooked. However, Belfast has its fair share of friendly pubs, traditional live music venues and world-class attractions, such as the <a href="https://titanicbelfast.com">Titanic Belfast</a>, <a href="https://www.nmni.com/our-museums/ulster-museum/Home.aspx">Ulster Museum </a>and <a href="https://themaclive.com/">The MAC culture center</a>. St George's Market is a must-visit for sampling Northern Irish produce. Time to spare? The magnificent Mountains of Mourne and the Giant’s Causeway are a short drive away.</p>  <p><a href="https://www.loveexploring.com/galleries/107456/the-uks-most-stunning-natural-wonders?page=1"><strong>Discover the UK's most stunning natural wonders</strong></a></p>

Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK

There's a great energy about this proud city in Northern Ireland that is all too often overlooked. However, Belfast has its fair share of friendly pubs, traditional live music venues and world-class attractions, such as the Titanic Belfast , Ulster Museum and The MAC culture center . St George's Market is a must-visit for sampling Northern Irish produce. Time to spare? The magnificent Mountains of Mourne and the Giant’s Causeway are a short drive away.

Discover the UK's most stunning natural wonders

<p>Quaint Kraków might steal the limelight, but those in the know go to Poland's capital Warsaw. Heavily bombed during the Second World War, the painstakingly rebuilt medieval old town (now an UNESCO World Heritage Site) is a remarkable feat and a wonderful place to explore. Another noteworthy landmark is the striking Monument to the Warsaw Uprising – the painful history behind it is well-documented at the excellent <a href="https://www.1944.pl/en/article/the-warsaw-rising-museum,4516.html">Warsaw Rising Museum</a>. It also has elegant parks, most notably the Royal Łazienki Park with its Neoclassical palace.</p>

Warsaw, Poland

Quaint Kraków might steal the limelight, but those in the know go to Poland's capital Warsaw. Heavily bombed during the Second World War, the painstakingly rebuilt medieval old town (now an UNESCO World Heritage site) is a remarkable feat and a wonderful place to explore. Another noteworthy landmark is the striking Monument to the Warsaw Uprising – the painful history behind it is well-documented at the excellent Warsaw Rising Museum . It also has elegant parks, most notably the Royal Łazienki Park with its Neoclassical palace.

<p>The capital of Armenia is one of Europe's least-known cities and all the more intriguing for it. Its skyline is dominated by Mount Ararat, the symbol of Armenia. Visitors can climb to the top of <a href="https://armenia.travel/en/the-cascade">The Cascade</a> stairway for spectacular city and mountain views or meander through the narrow lanes of the old quarter before seeking out somewhere to try khoravats (traditional barbecued meat). A harrowing but important visit is <a href="http://www.genocide-museum.am/eng/index.php">The Armenian Genocide Museum</a> and its moving memorial.</p>

Yerevan, Armenia

The capital of Armenia is one of Europe's least-known cities and all the more intriguing for it. Its skyline is dominated by Mount Ararat, the symbol of Armenia. Visitors can climb to the top of The Cascade stairway for spectacular city and mountain views or meander through the narrow lanes of the old quarter before seeking out somewhere to try khoravats (traditional barbecued meat). A harrowing but important visit is The Armenian Genocide Museum and its moving memorial.

<p>It might not have entirely escaped the eye of tourists but it's fair to say the capital of this small Caucasus nation isn't one of Europe's big hitters. Those who do visit congregate in the delightful old quarter where most of Tbilisi's historical sights (including <a href="https://georgiantravelguide.com/en/narikala-fortress">Narikala Fortress</a>), cafés, bars, museums and charming streets are to be found. Incredible food and wines are another huge reason to seek out this city. Those looking to relax should check out the city's traditional hot sulfur bathhouses.</p>

Tbilisi, Georgia

It might not have entirely escaped the eye of tourists but it's fair to say the capital of this small Caucasus nation isn't one of Europe's big hitters. Those who do visit congregate in the delightful old quarter where most of Tbilisi's historical sights (including Narikala Fortress ), cafés, bars, museums and charming streets are to be found. Incredible food and wines are another huge reason to seek out this city. Those looking to relax should check out the city's traditional hot sulfur bathhouses.

<p>There's no doubt Dubrovnik overshadows the rest of the country so those seeking a quieter escape should look towards Croatia's inland capital. Located along the Sava River and framed by Mount Medvednica, Zagreb might not have beaches, but it does have all the pillars of a great city break: a charming cobbled old town, wonderful food and a fantastic art scene. Once its most famous sights – namely the twin-spired <a href="https://www.visitzagreb.hr/zagreb/zagreb-cathedral/">Zagreb Cathedral</a> and colorful <a href="https://www.visitzagreb.hr/zagreb/saint-marks-church/">St Mark's Church</a> – are ticked off the list, there's a maze of cute backstreets to explore.</p>

Zagreb, Croatia

There's no doubt Dubrovnik overshadows the rest of the country so those seeking a quieter escape should look towards Croatia's inland capital. Located along the Sava River and framed by Mount Medvednica, Zagreb might not have beaches, but it does have all the pillars of a great city break: a charming cobbled old town, wonderful food and a fantastic art scene. Once its most famous sights – namely the twin-spired Zagreb Cathedral and colorful St Mark's Church – are ticked off the list, there's a maze of cute backstreets to explore.

<p>Sitting at 3,356 feet (1,023m) above sea level, this is the highest capital city in Europe – and one of the smallest. Wedged between France and Spain, mountainous Andorra is mostly known for its ski resorts, but Andorra la Vella is worth a visit for different reasons. There are some great boutiques, reputable restaurants and well-preserved Romanesque architecture. One of the city's most significant buildings is 16th-century <a href="https://visitandorra.com/en/culture/casa-de-la-vall/">Casa de la Vall</a>, which was the seat of the Parliament of Andorra from 1702 to 2011.</p>

Andorra la Vella, Andorra

Sitting at 3,356 feet (1,023m) above sea level, this is the highest capital city in Europe – and one of the smallest. Wedged between France and Spain, mountainous Andorra is mostly known for its ski resorts, but Andorra la Vella is worth a visit for different reasons. There are some great boutiques, reputable restaurants and well-preserved Romanesque architecture. One of the city's most significant buildings is 16th-century Casa de la Vall , which was the seat of the Parliament of Andorra from 1702 to 2011.

<p>The cafés, mosques and stall-lined, winding streets of Stara Čaršija (Skopje's old hillside bazaar) are the best place to soak in the North Macedonian capital's history and culture. Most of the city's Ottoman- and Byzantine-era sights sit across the 15th-century Kameni Most bridge, including traditional bathhouses and <a href="https://www.macedonia-timeless.com/eng/about/about/did-you-know/fortress-kale/">Fortress Kale</a>. From its ramparts, a stunning view opens up over the old town and across the Vardar river to the city’s modern buildings.</p>  <p><strong><a href="https://www.loveexploring.com/galleries/67038/europes-most-beautiful-castles">Take a look at Europe's most beautiful castles</a></strong></p>

Skopje, North Macedonia

The cafés, mosques and stall-lined, winding streets of Stara Čaršija (Skopje's old hillside bazaar) are the best place to soak in the North Macedonian capital's history and culture. Most of the city's Ottoman- and Byzantine-era sights sit across the 15th-century Kameni Most bridge, including traditional bathhouses and Fortress Kale . From its ramparts, a stunning view opens up over the old town and across the Vardar river to the city’s modern buildings.

Take a look at Europe's most beautiful castles

<p>Cyprus is known more for beach vacations than sophisticated city breaks but exploring its split capital (the only divided capital in the world) is a real insight into ancient and modern Cypriot culture. The southern half of the city (known as south Nicosia among locals, Nicosia in English and Lefkosia in Greek), is the capital of the republic while the northern half, known as Lefkoşa, is Turkish-occupied. Top spots include the old quarter of Laiki Geitonia, the <a href="https://www.visitcyprus.com/index.php/en/discovercyprus/culture-religion/museums-galleries/item/113-cyprus-museum">Cyprus Museum</a> with its archaeological treasures and charming cafés serving traditional pastries.</p>

Nicosia, Cyprus

Cyprus is known more for beach holidays than sophisticated city breaks but exploring its split capital (the only divided capital in the world) is a real insight into ancient and modern Cypriot culture. The southern half of the city (known as south Nicosia among locals, Nicosia in English and Lefkosia in Greek), is the capital of the republic while the northern half, known as Lefkoşa, is Turkish-occupied. Top spots include the old quarter of Laiki Geitonia, the Cyprus Museum with its archaeological treasures and charming cafés serving traditional pastries.

<p>A blend of brutalist Soviet buildings and modern high-rises, Chişinău might lack the architectural riches of some European capitals but it has charms of its own. The city is surprisingly leafy with lovely parks and a clutch of interesting museums. Some pre-Second World War buildings remain, including a 19th-century orthodox cathedral with beautiful frescoes. The cathedral square is a lovely place to wander around the open-air flower market, bars and restaurants, and sample some of the famed Moldovan wine.</p>

Chişinău, Moldova

A blend of brutalist Soviet buildings and modern high-rises, Chişinău might lack the architectural riches of some European capitals but it has charms of its own. The city is surprisingly leafy with lovely parks and a clutch of interesting museums. Some pre-Second World War buildings remain, including a 19th-century orthodox cathedral with beautiful frescoes. The cathedral square is a lovely place to wander around the open-air flower market, bars and restaurants, and sample some of the famed Moldovan wine.

<p>One of the last European countries to shake off communism, Albania's capital has a certain charm with wide avenues and brightly colored buildings. The <a href="http://www.mhk.gov.al/?lang=en">Albanian National Museum</a> and the <a href="http://galeriakombetare.gov.al/en/home/index.shtml">National Gallery of Arts</a> are both well worth a visit, as is the <a href="https://www.tirana.al/en/points-of-interest/attractions-and-sights/the-haxhi-ethem-bey-mosque">Et'hem Bey Mosque</a>, one of Tirana's last remaining examples of Ottoman architecture.</p>  <p><a href="https://www.loveexploring.com/galleries/107082/beautiful-europe-viewed-from-above?page=1"><strong>Now check out amazing photos of Europe viewed from above</strong></a></p>

Tirana, Albania

One of the last European countries to shake off communism, Albania's capital has a certain charm with wide avenues and brightly colored buildings. The Albanian National Museum and the National Gallery of Arts are both well worth a visit, as is the Et'hem Bey Mosque, one of Tirana's last remaining examples of Ottoman architecture.

<p>Stockholm and Copenhagen tend to overshadow Helsinki when it comes to Nordic city breaks, but this cool capital has plenty to offer. Great museums, striking buildings (like <a href="https://www.finlandiatalo.fi/en/">Finlandia Hall</a> overlooking Töölönlahti Bay and Sibelius Monument), cool boutiques and hip designer hotels make Finland's capital a more-than-worthy contender. There's a pretty harborside area, the UNESCO-listed island fortress of <a href="https://www.suomenlinna.fi/en/">Suomenlinna</a>, a fantastic food scene and a plethora of saunas too.</p>

Helsinki, Finland

Stockholm and Copenhagen tend to overshadow Helsinki when it comes to Nordic city breaks, but this cool capital has plenty to offer. Great museums, striking buildings (like Finlandia Hall overlooking Töölönlahti Bay and Sibelius Monument), cool boutiques and hip designer hotels make Finland's capital a more-than-worthy contender. There's a pretty harborside area, the UNESCO-listed island fortress of Suomenlinna , a fantastic food scene and a plethora of saunas too.

<p>With its 13th-century walled old town – all cobblestone streets, quaint courtyards, medieval spires and pastel merchants' houses – and pretty position on the Baltic Sea, Tallinn is a serious looker. It's garnered a reputation as a place for cheap beer and late-night bars but there's far more to it. The hip Kalamaja district is excellent for restaurants, cool shops and the brilliant maritime museum <a href="https://meremuuseum.ee/lennusadam/en/the-museum/">Seaplane Harbour</a>.</p>  <p><a href="https://www.loveexploring.com/guides/90183/explore-tallinn-the-top-things-to-do-where-to-stay-and-what-to-eat"><strong>Read more in our guide to Tallinn</strong></a></p>

Tallinn, Estonia

With its 13th-century walled old town – all cobblestone streets, quaint courtyards, medieval spires and pastel merchants' houses – and pretty position on the Baltic Sea, Tallinn is a serious looker. It's garnered a reputation as a place for cheap beer and late-night bars but there's far more to it. The hip Kalamaja district is excellent for restaurants, cool shops and the brilliant maritime museum Seaplane Harbour .

Now check out these amazing photos of Europe viewed from above

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