Are you dreaming of a trip to Europe? There certainly is no shortage of beautiful cities in Europe to discover. Who doesn’t dream of strolling through cobblestone streets that have so much history? Here are some of the most beautiful cities in Europe that will help you plan your next European vacation. These are some of the best places to visit in Europe and should be on anyone’s travel bucket list.
When traveling to these beautiful European destinations, you will be taking in all this European beauty that you won’t want to leave. There is so much culture, stunning architecture and of course the food! Here’s an extensive list of some of the most beautiful cities in Europe.
Beautiful Places to Visit in Austria
Jeanne Malherbe from Learning to Breathe Abroad
Nestled below the majestic Alps in northwest Austria lies one of Europe’s most beautiful cities, Salzburg. Grand old baroque buildings stretch along the banks of the River Salzach with the Alps providing a breathtaking backdrop to this picturesque city.
Salzburg may be smaller than most other European cities, but it is bursting with history and culture. Most famous as the birthplace of the classical composer Mozart and the filming of the Sound of Music, you’ll find a myriad of things to do in Salzburg.
Being a small city, all the attractions are easily accessible on foot. Don’t miss the Mirabelle Palace and its exquisite gardens. Wander through the old town (Altstadt) for some wonderful history. Find solace at the Salzburg Cathedral or Saint Peter’s Abbey. Watch the world go by on one of the squares – Residenzplatz, Kapitelplatz, Mozartplatz – and don’t forget to stroll down Salzburg’s most famous street, the Getreidegasse. Mozart’s birthplace and Museum are a must and for incredible views over the city. take the Mönchsberg lift up into the sky. If you’re looking to get into nature, there is a beautiful walk through the forest from Mönchsberg across to the impressive Hohensalzburg Fortress.
For excursions outside the city, don’t miss the Sound of Music tour or pop into the Hellbrun Palace to see its trick Water Fountains.
The easiest way to get to Salzburg is by car. There are also regular buses from Vienna and Munich, while trains and flight options are also available.
The best location to stay is in the heart of the old city, but for cheaper options, you may need to look on the other side of the river. Make sure to read about some fun facts about Austria before your travels.
Karolina Klesta from Lazy Travel Blog
Vienna is probably one of the most beautiful cities in Europe thanks to the construction of many baroque buildings during the rule of Empress Maria Theresia and Emperor Franz Joseph. The imperial grandeur of the Hofburg palace complex on its own will awe even the most seasoned traveler. Add the elegance of the Schloss Belvedere, the Schloss Schonbrunn, and the neo-Gothic Rathaus and you will be completely spellbound as you walk around Vienna’s Innere Stadt.
Aside from the fine architecture, the collection of artworks in the Museum Quartier is worth a visit, especially the exhibits at the contemporary museum, Mumok. The home of famous composers like Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, and Strauss, Vienna’s take on music and music venues is a step above the rest of the world. There are so many great things to do in Vienna.
When in Vienna make sure to avail the Vienna Pass to get free entry to several attractions and avoid queues. Depending on the budget, the best place to stay in Vienna would be at a hotel located in the Innere Stadt, preferably one that has sweeping views of the city’s stunning structures. To get there, the most comfortable and scenic way to get to Vienna from other parts of Europe is the rail while the cheapest option would be the bus. Make sure to try the famous wiener schnitzel and some other traditional Austrian food.
See These Beautiful Cities in Belgium
Kavita Favelle from Kavey Eats
When people talk about a beautiful city in Belgium, chances are they are referring to Bruges, and there’s no doubt it’s one of Europe’s gems. But so too is the city of Ghent, often overlooked but unfairly so, as it has so much to offer.
Located in Flemish Northern Belgium, Ghent is the capital of East Flanders province, and easy to travel to by train from Brussels.
The most beautiful neighborhoods and key tourist attractions to see when visiting Ghent are in the old town, which is divided by beautiful rivers and canals. There are wonderful old castles, cathedrals, and churches, as well as historical government and market buildings to enjoy as you walk around the city, or explore in a boat from the water. Many buildings date back to medieval times.
Pretty squares often host food, flower or book markets, as well as a great selection of bars, cafes, and restaurants. Ghent offers some excellent museums of modern and traditional art, industry and local history. If you enjoy eating and drinking, Ghent is a great choice, with a huge variety of cafes and restaurants, and some absolutely fantastic bars serving a vast range of Belgian beers and spirits.
Ghent is also a vibrant modern city, with a busy port and well-respected university, and although there are certainly tourists here, it’s far less crowded not to mention less expensive than Bruges.
Alex Kallimanis from Wanderlust Marriage Travel
Brugge is one of Europe’s best preserved medieval cities and one of its most romantic. I can personally attest that love is in the air in Brugge as it’s where I first met my Aussie wife of over 14 years. We were actually bunkmates at the Bauhaus hostel, which is a fun place to stay for backpackers, with many Belgian beers on draft in their bar.
Brugge (aka Bruges) is the capital of West Flanders and one of Europe’s most beautiful cities. Cobblestone streets, canals, and medieval buildings, many of which house gourmet chocolate shops, are distinguishing features of the city.
Brugge’s Stadhuis (City Hall) dates to the 14th century. Nearby you can climb the 83-meter tall Belfry, which offers wonderful panoramic views of the city. Brugge has museums dedicated to chocolate and even Vlaamse Frites (Flemish fries).
Another great place to enjoy wonderful views of Brugge is from atop the De Halve Maan Brewery. Brugge is a fantastic town to enjoy famous Belgian beers. Take a brewery tour, enjoy the view and then have a delicious Brugse Zot beer in their beer garden. It’s a great way to break up sightseeing, especially since Brugge is typically very crowded on weekends in warmer months.
To avoid the crowds, try and visit Brugge on weekdays. An excellent little bed and breakfast in Brugge are B&B Lady Jane, a small guest house featuring 3 uniquely themed rooms in a heritage listed building from 1673. We stayed there during a return visit when we lived in Amsterdam. Also, visit lots of chocolate shops as many give free samples!
Beautiful Cities in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Ellis Veen from Backpack Adventures
Sarajevo might be a small city for a European capital, but don’t underestimate what Sarajevo has to offer. With it’s the mountainous backdrop, it is one of Europe’s most beautiful and multicultural cities with plenty of things to do.
Sarajevo has a long and turbulent history that still characterizes most of its architecture. Sarajevo was once part of the Ottoman empire, the Austro Hungarian empire, and Tito’s socialist Yugoslavia before becoming the capital of independent Bosnia after a bloody civil war in which it experienced the longest siege of a city in history.
The scars of war are still visible, but Sarajevo has also recovered to become a great tourist destination. Sarajevo’s scenic old town brings you back to the Ottoman times with its charming teahouses and mosques. Outside the old town, you will find beautiful Austro Hungarian architecture, interesting museums and cute neighborhoods that wind their ways up to the mountains.
The mountains in Sarajevo are at your doorstep. A new cable car brings you to the top of Trebevic mountain where you not only find an abandoned bobsleigh track from the 1984 Olympics, but also a great view on the city. Other great mountain getaways are Bjelasnica and Jahorina.
It’s easy to fly into Sarajevo or visit the city as part of a greater trip through the Balkans. Sarajevo has many places to stay from hostels, hotels to bed and breakfasts that will make your stay to Europe’s most beautiful city memorable.
Must See Beautiful Cities in Croatia
Arzo from Arzo Travels
Dubrovnik is surely one of the most unique but also one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.
The city might be the most famous city in Croatia even though it is not the capital – and while Game of Thrones surely has made Dubrovnik even more popular, the city has been popular before and so it should not surprise that Dubrovnik is one of the busiest cities in the Balkans.
The most southern city in Croatia is quite small and has only about 50,000 inhabitants – and so it can easily feel busy and crowded with all the visitors. But if you visit Dubrovnik you will see why it is a must-see place.
Walk the city walls (see image) to have amazing views of the old town (that was partly damaged in the war in the 1990s but which has been rebuilt). The old town is one of the best preserved old towns and one of the prettiest in Europe.
But you can also stroll the old town itself with the pretty streets, visit the old port, do a boat cruise or head to Srd Mountain for more great views.
If you want to be more active, kayak to the Lokrum Island which lies in front of Dubrovnik (and where you will find more Game of Thrones film locations). – there is no shortage of fun things to do in Dubrovnik. There are also many day trips from Dubrovnik you can enjoy.
Stay in the old town to experience the city without the crowds early in the morning or close to the old town.
Dubrovnik has an airport, but you can also get there via bus from many other destinations in Croatia or other countries (like Mostar in Bosnia-Herzegovina). Also, it is easy to drive to Dubrovnik (parking is very, very expensive though). In the old town, you can easily walk to the main sights – to get to Srd Mountain either take the cable car (which is closed atm), hike up or drive up.
Coni from Experiencing the Globe
Croatia has a mix of everything you could want on a destination: nature, history, beaches, art, culture, great food, and even some of the most breathtaking Game of Throne’s locations. Tons of people are including Dubrovnik, Plitvice waterfalls, and Hvar Island to their bucket lists, but they’re overlooking a treasure hidden in plain sight: Split.
The heart of the city is Diocletian’s Palace, a stunning fortress built 1700 years ago. Get lost in the little allies, climb the bell tower of Saint Domnius Cathedral, look for the Egyptian sphinx in the Peristyle, explore the basement (this is where the GoT dragons where kept), and head to the golden gate to meet Grgur Ninski, an 8.5 metre (28 ft) tall statue by Croatian’s sculpture Ivan Meštrović. The story says that if you touch his toe, you’ll be back to Split. Finish the day grabbing a glass of Croatian wine or a shot of the local spirit, rakija, in Pjaca and look there for the 24 hours clock.
For nature, go for a hike to Marjan park. There’s a viewpoint you can reach by climbing a few flights of stairs, that will give you the best panoramic of the city. When it’s beach time, for a perfect mix of turquoise water and lush surroundings, go to Kašjuni.
Split is also the perfect hub to explore the rest of the country. If you base yourself here, you can do day trips from Split to the most spectacular national parks, islands, beaches, and cities. Don’t miss Krka waterfalls, Brač’s golden horn, the adventure capital of the country: Omiš, and Trogir, a medieval UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Beautiful Cities in Czech Republic
Keny from Knycx Journeying
Prague’s charming Bohemian historic old town has always been one of the most popular travel destinations in Europe. The Charles Bridge, Prague Castle, St. Vitus Cathedral, and Astronomical Clock, and Old Town Square are filled with sights and attractions that leave an unforgettable impression at heart.
Prague is conveniently connected to the rest of Europe by train, and its airport has connecting flights to more international destinations. Prague’s old town is always filled with Tourists, and its Christmas market was one of my favorites. Leaving my hotel, right across the train station, I was following the crowd through Wenceslas Square; once the iconic Church of Our Lady before Týn was in view, my jaw dropped and I gasped in amazement. The mysterious Church has a black roof and is one of the most photographed sites in the city. In fact, many Gothic churches in the region have the same color which makes Prague’s skyline so much more dramatic.
Prague’s Old Town has a lot of classic cafes worth trying; have a cup of coffee sitting by the side of the Old Town Square and near the Jan Hus monument or watch the puppets appear every hour at the Astronomical Clock. Of course, no trip to Prague is completed without crossing the Charles Bridge, a functioning historic architecture that is filled with beautiful statues and decorative lamps.
My favorite attraction was actually the Prague castle. This is the largest coherent castle complex in the world, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Get a Starbucks coffee at the entrance of the castle where you could have an unobstructed panoramic view of the city at the terrace, then enter the castle and be amazed by the spectacular St. Vitus Cathedral. You could easily spend a day there.
Beautiful Cities in Denmark
Jacki Dyrholm from DC Day Tripping
Aalborg, the fourth largest city in Denmark, is located in the northern part of the country in an area referred to as northern Jutland. It is sometimes referred to as the “Paris of the North” and it’s easy to see why. It’s a beautiful city that gives visitors all the history and culture of Denmark has to offer without all the tourists that flock to Copenhagen.
The earliest settlements around Aalborg date back to the year 700 AD. Because of its position along the Limfjord (the narrow track of water dividing northern and central Denmark), Aalborg became an important trading post during the Germanic Iron and Viking ages. In over a thousand years Aalborg has evolved from a Viking settlement to a vibrant city with a large assortment of restaurants, lively nightlife, and a quaint pedestrian-only shopping area in its medieval center.
Below the busiest shopping street is the Gray Bread Monastery Museum, and an underground museum that chronicles the history of a Viking marketplace which emerged in Aalborg in the late 900s. The Aalborg Historical Museum has exhibits covering all 1,200 years of Aalborg’s history from the Stone Age to the Viking Age until modern times. If you prefer nightlife, there are plenty of discos and bars along Jamfru Ana Gade, quite possibly the most popular street in Aalborg.
You can also go to the Salling Roof Top where you can see a 360-degree view of Aalborg and the Limfjord. Even though Aalborg is located almost at the top of Denmark, it is easily accessible by several modes of transportation. There are several direct flights from many of Europe’s major cities, including Copenhagen, as well as daily trains and buses running to the city.
The photo is of Jens Bang House, built in 1624, is one of the largest and most photographed buildings in Aalborg
Laura Clowes from Country Girl Explores
The capital of Denmark is certainly easy to fall in love with as one of Europe’s most beautiful cities. This city is both historic and modern, traditional and innovative. It’s well known for its design scene, top-notch cuisine and street food, and a casual laid-back atmosphere, by no means a budget destination but certainly, a must visit Scandinavian capital! Learn more about the Danish royal family and explore the royal residences and take in the beauty of Copenhagen from the canals for an unforgettable trip.
Getting to Copenhagen couldn’t be easier, with a direct metro train from the airport to the bustling city center in just 15 minutes. Copenhagen Central Station is located in the heart of the city is a gateway to all public transportation in and out and around Copenhagen. Getting around Copenhagen is a breeze too, the city is quite compact and is easy to explore on foot, bicycles are also a popular way to explore the city and a lot of native Dane’s travel by bike.
There are lots of places to stay in Copenhagen depending on your personal budget. For a low budget: Generator Hostel Copenhagen offers contemporary dorms, private rooms, and a central location. The hostel offers daily walking tours and has its own bar and restaurant, which is perfect for solo travelers on a budget. For a mid-range budget, Hotel Alexandra is a chic yet homey hotel with cult-status furniture. It is a beautifully curated ode to Danish design. For a top budget and luxury accommodation, Hotel d’Angleterre is a history-steeped luxury and a celebrity fan base near the famous colorful Nyhavn.
Beautiful Cities in England
Kylie at Between England and Iowa
London, England’s capital, is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe in many different ways. It has historic buildings mixed with modern day architecture, rivers and canals and plenty of parks, rooftop gardens and green spaces to stroll through or just sit and people watch! Some of my personal ‘beautiful’ favorites include St James’s Park, the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park (home of the London 2012 Olympics and the longest tube slide in the world!) and the canal walk between Little Venice and Camden town. There is a huge range of attractions and things to do to suit all ages and interests. You’ll find lots of great free museums.
Being the capital of the country it has a great transport system both within the city (the underground, buses, even a cable car!) and connections around the world via road, coach, rail (including the Eurostar international train) and air…London technically has 6 international airports (Heathrow, Gatwick, London City, Luton, Stansted, and Southend)!
Just like attractions, London has a wide range of accommodation options to suit all budget. One of the more quirkier hotels is the Sunborn Yacht Hotel, a permanently docked luxury yacht located in the Royal Docks. A great central budget chain hotel, just minutes from Liverpool Street train station, is the Travelodge, which is usually my hotel of choice when I stay in London! If you are short on time, check out this 2 day in London itinerary.
Laura from What’s Hot
Oxford is a beautiful English city just outside of London. You can there in just over an hour by train or by bus and it’s a great place to visit as a day trip or for a weekend getaway. The city is known for the world famous Oxford University, whose stunning buildings attract droves of tourists each day. Walking through Oxford can feel like you have stepped back in time as most of the architecture dates back centuries!
There are 38 colleges in total at Oxford University but the very best to visit is Christ Church. It’s one of the largest and grandest colleges and home to lots of Oxford’s Harry Potter locations People often say Oxford looks like Hogwarts and that’s because numerous scenes were filmed in the city. Each college has its own unique character so if you have time to poke your head into a couple, you can get a flavor of all the different styles.
Try to visit in the summer months so you can try your hand at punting. It’s a popular activity for locals, students, and tourists alike! But don’t worry, if you’re not brave enough to punt your own party down the river, you can hire one with someone to punt you down the river so you can sit back and enjoy the view. There are a few different places to punt in Oxford but wherever you go you’ll be treated to peaceful stretches of green with beautiful old buildings in the distance.
If you’re staying the night then there are a couple of quintessentially British hotels worth looking into. Ones that are big, beautiful and very central include The Randolph, Old Bank Hotel, Old Parsonage, and Malmaison Oxford.
Beautiful Cities in Estonia
Roshni from The Wanderlust Within
Tallinn, one of Europe’s newest capitals, boasts a rich mix of architecture and culture. It’s walled, cobblestoned Old Town was almost untouched by war and remains perfectly preserved, unlike its neighbors.
Yet the 1000-year-old city has a modern vibe, with museums and cafes to match. The medieval towers and Soviet architecture make it hard to believe Tallinn is one of the world’s most technologically advanced cities. Free WIFI is available to all, and the city is home to numerous tech startups.
For visitors, Tallinn combines easy public transport (free for locals), affordable accommodation and exceptional food to match (try Vegan Restoran in the city center).
Outside the city walls, lies beautiful lush forests and white sand beaches. Just ten minutes from the city center, you can even learn to surf or paddle board on the Baltic Sea, making this a city break destination to suit most. It’s no wonder this colorful and diverse city is one of the Baltic’s most beloved treasures.
Tallinn is a popular Baltic cruise stop, but it is also connected to Latvia and Lithuania by bus. For those who prefer the ferry, Helsinki is only two hours away making it the perfect day trip. If you have more time, take advantage of the 3-day visa-free ferry trip to St Petersburg in Russia.
Best Cities in France
Rhonda Krause from Travel Yes Please
Strasbourg is a lovely city in the Alsace region of France that charms visitors with its harmonious combination of French and German influences. The historic centre of town is especially pretty, located on a large island surrounded by the Ill river. Half-timbered buildings decorated with flower boxes line cobblestone lanes, while swans quietly swim alongside the Grande Île.
Most of the city’s tourist attractions are located in the Old Town, on the Grande Île. There’s Petite France, packed with cafes and shops, Strasbourg Cathedral, home to a 16th-century astronomical clock, and Place du Marché aux-Poissons, where boats depart for scenic cruises around the Grande Île.
The most convenient area to stay in Strasbourg is on the Grande Île or around the train station, from which the Grande Île is a short walk away. Strasbourg has the second largest railway station in France, connecting it with many other European cities. It can easily be reached by train from Paris in about 2 hours and 20 minutes. Strasbourg also has an international airport approximately 10 km from the city centre, making it accessible by plane.
Maria Haase from Europe Up Close
Paris is one of the top tourist destinations in the world – and rightfully so as it is one of the most beautiful cities in France. The city is simply stunning. Every corner you turn, you will find a picturesque scene, almost as if a decorator had created a set for you to take a photo of or sit down and paint. Of course, you have to see the main sights, like the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre, Montmartre, and what is left of Notre Dame.
But the real Paris you will find when you get lost and wander the streets, sit in cafés where the menu is not in English and you converse with your hands (and maybe Google Translate) with the Parisian next to you as you share a carafe of wine. There is something in the air in Paris that makes it simply magical.
To get to Paris, you have various options. By plane, you will most likely arrive at Charles de Gaulle airport, which is about 45-60 minutes outside of the city. From there, you can take a taxi, Uber, or bus to the city and then the metro to your final destination. If you arrive by train, you can hop on the metro, or take an Uber or taxi to your hotel. Make sure that you take note of which train station you arrive at, as Paris has quite a few main ones as well as some smaller ones as well.
My favorite arrondissement is the 5th, also known as the Latin Quarter. From there, you can explore a lot of the main sights on foot and are in the center of Paris. You will find some great restaurants and hotels that offer good value for their money in this area as well.
Beautiful Places in Germany
Jenny from TraveLynn Family
A city often associated with its dark history and the war trials, Nuremberg is a city steeped in elegance and charm, boasting medieval architecture, numerous museums, and characterful beer cellars. It’s compact old town makes it easy to walk between sights, and the public transport efficient and affordable if venturing further afield.
Start your visit with a stroll around the old town and make your way to the impressive Imperial Castle, which boasts stunning rooftop views over the city. There are also some great museums including the DB Railway Museum and Toy Museum, and a visit to the Nazi Party Rally Grounds is certainly thought-provoking. If you get peckish, make sure you try a Nuremberg Bratwurst; apparently, the way to ask is “Drei im Weggla” (“Three in a bun”), a bit different to your standard one-sausage in a finger bun, and arguably tastier. If you’re visiting Nuremberg with kids, an absolute must is the Zoo and Playmobil Park.
We flew directly to Nuremberg from Manchester airport, but it is well connected across Europe with low-cost airline carriers. Although it doesn’t receive anywhere near as much air traffic as nearby Munich. Nuremberg is also very well serviced by trains and there are direct trains from Frankfurt, Cologne, Hamburg, Berlin, and Vienna.
Diana from The Elusive Family
Stuttgart is located in southern Germany, specifically the Baden Wurttemberg region. Best known for the headquarters of Mercedes Benz and Europe’s largest botanical garden and zoo combination park, Stuttgart is home to over half a million people. It is nestled low in the valley which provides amazing views from the hills surrounding the old city. During World War II, Stuttgart’s location helped alleviate some of the damage and human loss, as many people were able to carve shelters into the hillside to keep safe from the numerous raids the city encountered.
Today, the city has a lot to offer tourists as it hosts two large annual festivals, the Fruhlingsfest in the spring and Cannstatter Volksfest in the fall, the world’s second largest beer festival after Munich’s Oktoberfest. The city has a lot to offer visitors including the Mercedes Benz and Porsche museums, the beautiful Killesburg Park which includes a train ride around the park, and Schlossplatz, the center of the city where the Christmas market and numerous other festivals and performances take place year-round.
Stuttgart is also a less crowded city than Munich but contains an equivalent amount of charm and beauty. Strolling through the city’s main streets and pedestrian-only shopping district is a great way to experience the beauty of the city and the local culture and cuisine. Stuttgart has its own airport, with a train directly to the center of the city, and an easily navigable train system for new visitors. Some of the best places to stay include Le Meridien Stuttgart and the Steigenberger Graf Zeppelin. This amazing city has a lot to offer, read more on the best Stuttgart has to offer.
Beautiful Hungary Cities
Rishabh & Nirali from Gypsycouple
Budapest is perhaps the most underrated city in Europe. It’s the capital and main commercial city of Hungary which means it has all the infrastructure and facilities a traveler might require. It has lovely warm people who are happy to help, even going out of their way to do so. The ever beautiful Danube river runs through the middle of the city dividing it into the Buda & Pest regions and is easily crossed over through the Széchenyi Chain Bridge, The Buda castle, a UNESCO world heritage site, sits on top of a hill overlooking the city and flaunts a spectacular baroque architecture.
The Hungarian parliament building, the Matthias church, and the liberty statue are some other incredibly beautiful monuments around the city. The underground metro which connects most parts of the city also oozes history with it being the second oldest metro line in the world. If you’re in Budapest need we tell you about the baths – You can find quite a few across all price ranges as well and we would recommend trying out the szechenyi-bath which is one of the largest hot spring spa baths in Europe, has 18 pools and is open throughout the year. Beautiful monuments, a gorgeous river, warm people, delicious food and last but not the least a very vibrant culture makes this city, steeped in history one of the most beautiful cities in Europe if not the world.
Most Beautiful Places in Ireland
Katie Minahan from Just Chasing Sunsets
Galway is Ireland’s third largest city located on the country’s west coast. Galway is not one of Europe’s most beautiful cities because of its architecture or cobblestone streets, although it does offer that too.
Galway’s beauty comes from the music that emanates from every corner of the city. From the buskers on the street to the music in the pubs. You could easily spend an entire weekend listening to some of the most beautiful music you’ve ever heard.
Galway’s beauty comes from the warm and welcoming locals who will chat you up over a pint at the local pub. And there are plenty of pubs. One of my favorites is Tig Coili as every day there are musicians playing traditional Irish music. If you’re looking for a bit more pub rock then head to Taafes. Or if you want a local vibe, stroll to the Salthill neighborhood and visit O’Connor’s.
Galway’s beauty comes from its location on Galway Bay. It’s a beautiful 20-minute stroll along the bay into Salthill, especially at sunset. The best place to witness the sunset is from Blackrock Diving Pier, where you’ll also likely find plenty of locals swimming in the frigid waters any time of year.
And finally, Galway’s beauty comes from its foodie culture. There is a wide range of international and local restaurants, I suggest Kai Cafe. For the coffee lovers, there are plenty of cafes to choose from if you’ve had enough of pubs for a day, my favorite is The Secret Garden.
Ready to go explore all of the beautiful things to do in Galway? To get to Galway, fly into Shannon airport. From there it’s about a 45-minute bus journey to the city center. Or if you’re coming from Dublin, the bus journey takes approximately three hours. You can also drive there if you’re renting a car or take the train!
Beautiful Cities in Italy
Gemma from Highlands 2 Hammocks
One of Europe’s most undiscovered, beautiful cities is located on the southeast coast of Italy. Bari is a vibrant and energetic port town, commonly used as a resting point on the journey from Italy to Greece, Croatia, and Albania. Given how quiet, underrated and peaceful this vibrant city is, it is also the perfect spot for an Italian budget break.
Bari is the second largest city in Southern Italy and although there is a new modern feel to the city, the old charm of the city is still very much alive and well. Old meets new, as the circular Old Town hugs the square grids of new generation Bari.
It is possible to travel to Bari by plane or train and once in the city centre, you can travel around on foot or by bus. There are also tours that take you around the city by bicycle or Segway, embracing the local culture and heritage as you go.
Be sure to spend one of your days exploring the narrow streets of the old town, sampling the delicious Italian food and feeling like a local as you experience authentic Italy. You can also visit the Normanno Svevo Castle, a beautiful building first constructed in 1132.
Being a port town, no trip is complete without a seaside sunset view. On the edge of the city is a small beach, the perfect place to end the day and watch the pink and orange colors of the sunset.
James Ian from Travel Collecting
When I think of Rome, I think of domes because the skyline of Rome is dotted with the domes of churches peeking above the rooftops. It is incredibly beautiful. The rooftop café at the Capitoline Museums and the rooftop at the Vatican are great places to see them.
Rome has so many amazing churches and museums that you could easily spend weeks exploring them. It also has Roman ruins strewn around so you can stumble upon the remnants of an ancient building without expecting it. Rome was also the heart of the Renaissance, and there is so much beauty in art and architecture everywhere.
Personal favorites are the fountains in Piazza Navona and, of course, the Trevi Fountain. You will not be alone (!), but the sheer beauty of this fountain will overcome any crowd fatigue you feel. Campo di Fiori is a lively food market during the day and a beautiful spot to dine al fresco (outdoors) in the evening.
You can take a cooking class in an apartment with rooftop views of narrow cobbled streets and the ubiquitous church domes; admire the Spanish steps; wander through the ruins of the Forum; admire the perfection of the Coliseum; follow the circle of light from the oculus (ceiling opening) in the Pantheon, a spectacular former Roman temple; gaze in awe at the Sistine Chapel… There are so many places and things to do in Rome.
There is an international airport (Fiumicino) and a smaller domestic and budget airline airport (Ciampino). This being Europe, you can also get to Rome by train easily from other places around Italy and the rest of Europe. Don’t even think about driving in Rome – the traffic is crazy!
With its labyrinthine alleyways, a network of canals, gilded residences, and floating gondolas, there’s no question that Venice is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. It’s a place that captured my heart the moment I first set foot in it, and if you get the chance to visit, I know that you’ll fall in love too.
Venice is built on a network of over 800 islands. Instead of streets, canals are the roadway for boats transporting people and packages. Since no cars are allowed in the city, the easier way to get there is via train, which will take you to Venezia Santa Lucia station. From there, you can pick from vaporettos, water taxis, or several other modes of transport to get to where you want to go to Venice.
Once you’re in the city, there are a few Venice highlights you don’t want to miss. The first is the famed St. Mark’s Square and its namesake basilica. Right next door is the elaborate and gilded Doge’s Palace, the most exquisite building in the city. You’ll also want to snap a picture of the Rialto bridge. A gondola ride is something many people consider a must-do, but if you don’t want to spend the money, wandering and getting lost in Venice’s alleys is a great way to see the city!
For the most pleasant Venice visit, avoid going during the height of the tourist season. In the summer, Venice is so crowded that it’s hard to appreciate its beauty. But if you visit in the off-season, all the attractions and restaurants are still open without you having to compete with the hordes!
Leanne from The Globetrotter GP
Taormina is one of the prettiest cities I have visited in Europe. With its narrow winding lanes, it’s cobbled alleys and stunning coastal views, it’s one place that should most definitely make its way onto your Sicily itinerary.
You can reach Taormina in an hour driving from Catania airport. It’s a dual carriage all the way until the last 10 minutes which is very twisty but offers stunning views.
The old walled city is a great place to explore, especially in the evening when the city comes to life. It’s full of fantastic restaurants serving the most delicious Italian food and there are lots of interesting churches to explore. Then there are the ice cream parlors… Prepare to gain some weight in Taormina!
One of Taormina’s star attractions is the ancient amphitheater which overlooks not only the beautiful Sicilian coast but also the active volcano, Mt Etna. On a clear day, you will see smoke billowing from it.
Taormina also has a beautiful botanical garden which makes a lovely place to escape from the crowds of tourists. I recommend getting a pizza at a nearby cafe for lunch with a view!
For a day trip, you should visit Mt Etna. You can climb part of the way up and admire the lunar-like landscape. Be prepared it’s much colder halfway up Mt Etna so take a jumper even if it’s scorching in Taormina!
Annabel Kirk from Smudged Postcard
Syracuse (Siracusa), Sicily
Syracuse is a delightful Baroque city in the southeast of Sicily. It’s an hour south of Catania airport and can be reached easily by car or train. The historical heart of Syracuse is the tiny island of Ortigia, joined to the mainland by a bridge: Ortigia is a maze of medieval streets punctuated by impressive Baroque piazzas. Piazza del Duomo in the center of the city is the perfect place to stop for coffee and marvel at Sicily’s history: the cathedral features elements from all of the island’s main occupiers: Greek, Roman, Norman and Arabic influences are all apparent.
The city has an excellent puppet theatre where legends are retold by master puppeteers. At the far end of Syracuse overlooking the sparkling Ionian Sea is the Castello di Maniace. The 13th-century castle can be explored on foot or admired from a distance on a boat trip around the island. Just outside the city center is the Archaeological Park featuring Greek and Roman amphitheaters and the Ear of Dionysus, an echoing manmade cave where prisoners were once held.
There are several small independent hotels and bed and breakfasts to stay at in Syracuse. Overlooking the sea on the edge of the harbor is Approdo delle Sirene which offers particularly delicious Sicilian breakfasts.
Angela Corrias from Chasing the Unexpected
Capital of the Italian island of Sardinia, there are so many things to do in Cagliari that it’s a pity to leave it out of your itinerary.
Sunny, bright and lively, the city has it all. Do you want to relax on one of the beautiful beaches in Sardinia? Cagliari has you covered with its beautiful Poetto coastline. Are you a fan of outdoors and hiking? Climb the Sella del Diavolo (Devil’s Saddle) and enjoy a day in nature surrounded by a breathtaking blue marine landscape.
At the same time, if you are in the lookout for a city break, some historical sightseeing, and religious landmarks, you won’t be disappointed either. Wear a pair of comfortable shoes and start your morning climbing up the Castello quarter, the elevated heart of the city and its oldest neighborhood. Here you will explore Cagliari’s medieval history, its cathedral of Santa Maria, the vestiges of the Pisan rule and the Viceregio Palace, the old residence of the Viceroy during the Aragon, Spanish and Savoy periods.
Being a coastal town, in Cagliari you can enjoy some fish-based cuisine. A lovely foodie experience in Cagliari is a visit to its Mercato di San Benedetto, a haven of local produce and fresh fish and seafood. Here you can even buy some fried fish, take a short bus ride towards Via Roma and enjoy your street food lunch near the port.
Some good areas to stay are in the city center not far from Via Roma and Marina quarter, or even a bit farther away but well-connected with the public transport, like the area near Bonaria Basilica, like the FortyFour B&B, where we stayed.
Sabrina Brett from Moon & Honey Travel
Aosta, Aosta Valley, Italy
Aosta is the capital city of the Italian region Valle d’Aosta (Aosta Valley). It’s also the beating heart of the Italian Alps. Italians journey here in winter to ski and in summer to hike. After all, Mont Blanc and Gran Paradiso National Park are only short drives away. The closest airport to Aosta is in Turin, Italy. You can also reach Aosta from France via the Tunnel du Mont-Blanc (from Chamonix).
Given its strategic location, the Romans established a colony here in 25 BC. Evidence of the ancient Roman city can be seen throughout the city. Begin your exploration of the city at the Arch of Augustus. Continue along Via Sant Anselmo to Porta Praetoria and then to the impressive Roman theater. After touring the ruins, it’s time to relish the culinary specialties of Aosta Valley. Fontina is a cheese that can also be made in Aosta Valley, because of its DOP status. Order a platter of Fontina and other regional specialties at La Bottegaccia.
Brooke Heron from A Different Kind of Travel
Verona is a city that is often overlooked-with visitors heading straight for Tuscany, Rome or Venice. When visitors do land in Verona they typically spend very little time in the city-heading to see the Roman Arena (made from lovely pink stone sourced from nearby Valpolicella) and to have dinner or drinks in Piazza Delle Erbe.
But this Venetian city is one of the most charming in Italy and worth further exploration. My favorite way to spend a day in Verona is to get away from the center and head over the bridge to enjoy panoramic views of the city and the river from St Peter’s Hill or the Sanctuary of the Lady of the Lourdes.
Then, meander back towards the center-finding a spot to have lunch down the smallest and least touristy looking alley-way that I can find and order a multi-course lunch featuring some of the regional specialties and a glass of Veneto wine.
Beautiful Cities in Macedonia
Erika Bisbocci from Erika’s Travels
Ohrid is one of the oldest human settlements in Europe. Surrounded by low-lying mountains and overlooking the sapphire waters of one of the largest lakes in the Balkans, the UNESCO-recognized town sits in an area of stunning natural beauty.
Ohrid lies three hours south of Skopje, near the Macedonian border with Albania. The city is renowned for its unique architectural heritage and stunning environmental surroundings. Samuel’s Castle crowns Ohrid’s old town. From the turreted fortress, the city’s wood-trimmed buildings cascade down the mountainside to the shores of the lake. The town is a picture-perfect jumble of stately Byzantine churches and tucked-away courtyards lining cobbled streets.
While Ohrid is one of the primary tourist attractions in Macedonia, the beautiful city remains off-the-beaten-path by European standards. Popular activities include dining at lakeside cafes, swimming in nearby beaches and visiting the beautiful Byzantine churches that the city is known for.
The most popular landmark in Ohrid is the Church of St John at Kaneo. This small Byzantine church has become one of the most recognizable symbols of Macedonia.
Ohrid is commonly referred to as the ‘Pearl of Macedonia.’ Considering the town’s tranquil lakeside setting, its picturesque Byzantine architecture and its plentiful things to see and do, it is easy to see why.
Beautiful Cities in Montenegro
Maria & Rui from Two Find a Way
Beauty is certainly a very subjective term, but we are confident that everyone who’s visited will agree that Kotor is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. In fact, the city is so incredibly pleasing to the senses and the mind aesthetically (the dictionary’s definition of beautiful) that it sometimes feels hard to believe it’s true. It feels like a perfect painting of a place that doesn’t even exist, but the city of Kotor is very much real and very easy to get to.
Located on Montenegro’s Adriatic Sea coast, it’s easily accessible with three nearby airports: Čilipi Airport in Dubrovnik, Tivat Airport, and Podgorica Airport. There are plenty of private transfers and affordable public buses that take you directly to this stunning town. It is also a common stop in many cruises through the region.
Kotor is known for its incredibly well-preserved Old Town, which completely takes you back in time. It’s worth dedicating a few hours to its charming streets and stopping at one of its many restaurants to appreciate the delicious fresh seafood available. However, don’t get too full: the highlight of the Kotor is a climb through its stunning City Walls. As you climb the stairs up to the Castle Of San Giovanni, you’ll get to appreciate the most stunning views to the city and the whole Bay of Kotor.
Kotor is worth more than just a day visit, so find somewhere to stay inside the Old Town to make sure you wake up in the middle of a fairytale. If you’re not fully convinced yet, check out photos of Montenegro, they will certainly show you that you need to add this Balkan country to your bucket list!
Beautiful Netherland Cities
Frankie Thompson from As the Bird Flies
In my very biased opinion (because I live there!) Amsterdam is easily one of the most beautiful cities in Europe (and beyond!). The reasons I think this is both very unoriginal – its mansion-house lined canals, it’s narrow townhouses, its colorful and iconic Red Light District – and also perhaps unexpected; Amsterdam has pockets of award-winning modern architecture, the city comes alive in spring thanks to tulip fever and cherry blossom everywhere, and the banks of the River Amstel are more beach-like on sunny summer evenings. In short, you can’t avoid beautiful buildings, idyllic waterfront scenes and plenty of Instagram-worthy photo opportunities in Amsterdam.
It should go without saying that there is also plenty to do in Amsterdam whether you’re visiting for a day, a weekend or longer. There are more museums per capita in Amsterdam than any other city in the world, and there is plenty of other things to enjoy like Dutch foods (all the cheese!), lovingly kept gardens and public parks, or of course do as the locals do and go for a bike ride around all those pretty canals.
I also recommend exploring inside some of the most beautiful buildings like one of Amsterdam’s most famous museum Rijksmuseum, afternoon tea inside the grand canal house that is the Waldorf Astoria hotel or even staying in one of Amsterdam’s best hotels like the Conservatorium or Amstel (if you can afford to!). Either way if you’re looking for beauty – historic and modern – Amsterdam has plenty to offer!
Beautiful Norway Cities
Nicky from Go Live Young
Stavanger, on the west coast of Norway, is an enchanting town in the fjords. Stavanger has so much to offer the visitor and should not be missed on any trip to Norway. It has a spectacular location on the Lysefjord, with a bustling harbor and colorful historic town center. Within an easy drive of the town is some of the best hiking in Norway, with three famous hikes, Preikestolen, Kjerag and Florli 4444. We were lucky enough to spend a week in this glorious town on a recent road trip around Norway.
While in Stavanger wander the streets to see the old historic buildings, left over from the sardine canning industry, and sit in one of the harbourside cafes and watch the world go by.
Visit two fabulously informative and interactive museums – the Norwegian Canning Museum to find out all about Stavanger’s sardine history, and the Norwegian Petroleum Museum to find out all about oil exploration in this area. Both are fun and engaging for adults and children alike, with lots of interaction.
Stavanger has some spectacular scenery within easy reach. Take a boat ride on the Lysefjord for spectacular fjord views. Enjoy some of the best hiking Norway has to offer. There are three memorable and unique hikes all within driving distance of the town. Pulpit Rock or Preikestolen, with its far-reaching fjord views and the location of the final scenes of the Mission Impossible Fallout movie, starring Tom Cruise. Kjerag, where if you dare you can stand on a boulder wedged between two cliffs, high above the valley floor! And Florli 4444, the world’s longest wooden staircase, with its 4444 steps up the fjord-side, following the railway used to serve an old hydro-electric power station.
Stavanger in fjord land is a beautiful town and should not be missed on any trip to Norway.
Beautiful Places to Visit in Poland
Or from My Path in the World
Warsaw, the capital of Poland, is an incredibly beautiful yet underrated city. Although it has a painful and difficult past (about 80% of it was destroyed during the Second World War), it is now a vibrant and modern city that also preserves its history and heritage. Beyond the fact that it is a lot less touristy than other European cities, it’s also budget-friendly and offers something for any type of traveler. From incredible landmarks and amazing museums to colorful street art and buzzing nightlife, you’ll never get bored in this city.
One of the best things to see in Warsaw is the old town that was reconstructed after WWII and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With such beautiful landmarks like the Royal Castle and the Old Town Market Square, I know for a face that you’ll fall in love with this charming area.
Another fun thing to do in this city is to explore the Praga district. Here you’ll find a mix of pre-war buildings, street and urban art, cool museums, hipster cafes, and even one of Europe’s busiest zoos.
Warsaw is full of many more surprises, but I guess you’ll have to discover them on your own.
How to get there: The best way to get to Warsaw is by flight to Warsaw’s international Chopin Airport. You can also take a train from other Polish cities.
Joanna at Overhere
Gdansk is a seaside city located in northern Poland, right on the shores of the Baltic Sea. In the past, it used to be an important port city with many rich merchants and officials living there. These days Gdanks in one of the most famous places in Poland and many travelers consider it also the most beautiful Polish city.
Gdansk is well-known for its many amazing tourist attractions suitable for all kinds of travelers. Are you interested in history? Then you might want to visit The Museum of the Second World War, European Solidarity Centre, and Uphagens’ House. Do you love jewelry? Then head to Amber Museum where you can also purchase beautiful handcrafted amber jewelry. Are you looking for an exciting city to organize a hen party? Gdansk is just for you – there are countless pubs and discos to enjoy the night out.
If you appreciate beautiful architecture jus stroll along charming cobbled streets of Old Town – it’s one of the most interesting city centers in Poland. A great advantage of Gdansk is that it is located on Motlawa river embankments which make this city even more picturesque. A walk along the river banks is a great idea to spend a romantic evening out in the city. To get a look at Gdansk panorama to take a ride on AmberSky – a 50-meter high wheel with 36 air-conditioned and heated gondolas. The ride will provide you with an unforgettable experience – the views on Gdansk city are breathtaking!
When you feel the need to take a break from city life you can go to Gdansk beach and take a walk on the seashore enjoying brisk, fresh sea air.
Ania from Travelling Twins
Krakow is the most beautiful and oldest city in Poland and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Located in the south of the country, it was the Polish capital until the sixteenth century. Right now Krakow is considered to be the nation’s cultural capital and its best-known destination for tourists.
The old town is an easy place to explore on foot. The streets and squares are all delightful and the main attractions are all easy to get to. Start at the main square with the old market hall in the middle. Dating from the thirteenth century and surrounded by beautiful buildings, this is one of the biggest and the most beautiful market squares in Europe.
Behind almost every historic frontage restaurants serve mouth-watering food. In the square itself, you will find musicians, performers, and regional food stalls. You could probably spend a week here and still not manage to visit all the restaurants and pubs. Another foodie place is Kazimierz – the old Jewish quarter. It’s the perfect spot for a romantic dinner and evening stroll.
The city is also the perfect destination for families. There are many things to do in Krakow with kids – starting with a visit to the fire-breathing Smok Wawelski. All Polish children know the story of this fearsome dragon who lives under the Wawel castle. This was the stronghold of the Polish kings until the capital moved to Warsaw, and again it is in easy walking distance from the other attractions.
How to get there. Krakow has its own international airport, well served with both budget and regular airlines. You can also get here by train or bus from almost anywhere in Europe. Due to cheap flights from the UK, good food and great atmosphere at budget prices, Krakow has become a popular destination for hen and stag parties.
You can stay in the heart of the old town either in a hotel or Airbnb – but this will be pricy. Or stay more economically just outside the old town, still within easy distance of the center in a whole raft of places just a tiny bit less charming.
Most Beautiful Places in Portugal
Susan Connolly from Portugal Exposure
Historic charm, world-class art museums, and a booming restaurant scene are just some of the reasons why Lisbon is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.
For an overview of the city’s sights visit picturesque areas like Alfama, Lisbon’s oldest neighborhood. Chiado is elegant and sophisticated with lots of chic shops and old-style cafés. Bairro Alto, Lisbon’s nightlife district is best for lively restaurants and late night bars. All of these neighborhoods are central and good choices if you are wondering where to stay in Lisbon.
Lisbon boasts more than its fair share of renowned museums and cultural attractions. One of our favorites is the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum which houses priceless collections and is located in a beautifully landscaped park. Head to Belém for some awe-inspiring architecture including the Jerónimos Monastery and the Belém Tower.
Time Out Market in Cais do Sodre is a great place for a meal, a food court where you can sample some of Lisbon’s best restaurants from traditional to experimental all under one roof.
Lisbon airport is one of the main airports for long-haul flights into Portugal and European budget airlines fly to cities across Portugal including Lisbon year round at very reasonable prices.
Beautiful Cities in Russia
Anna de Nord from Travel Cultura
St. Petersburg, Russia
St. Petersburg is usually called the cultural capital of Russia. It’s the home for such world-known attractions as the Hermitage Museum, fountains of Peterhof, Catherine Palace with the Amber Room, Church of the Saviour on the Spilled Blood, Peter and Paul Fortress, and many others.
Apart from museums, St. Petersburg offers its guests a large variety of activities for every taste. The most romantic pastime is surely a boat trip on rivers and canals. The boat takes you along splendid embankments full of royal palaces and aristocracy mansions, lavish gardens, and ancient monuments.
If you take a boat tour at night, you’ll admire draw-bridges as well.
If you’re more into climbing to heights, go up to the colonnade of St. Isaac’s Cathedral and enjoy the bird’s-eye view of the historical part of the city. Or take a tour on the roofs and peek into the unusual side of St. Petersburg.
After long promenades, head to one of the restaurants to taste local dishes (like beef Stroganoff, borsch or pelmeni). Don’t forget to try pyshka — kind of sweet doughnut covered with lots of fine
sugar powder. The best pyshkas are sold in cafes called “pyshechnaya”.
To end your day, book a ticket to ballet. The Mariinsky Theatre and the Mikhailovsky Theatre are remarkable not only for high-class performances but also for the stunning architecture of the theatre buildings. They both are Russia’s oldest opera and ballet houses.
Getting to St. Petersburg is easy. The city is an important transport hub: you can get there by plane, by train, by bus and even by ferry. Public transportation within the city is well-developed and reliable (especially metro).
Beautiful Places to See in Scotland
Linn Haglund from Brainy Backpackers
Edinburgh must be one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. The medieval old city is full of spectacular buildings that will blow your mind away from wherever you turn. A must visit when you go to Edinburgh is Edinburgh Castle. The old structure rises as an iconic landmark at the top of the Royal Mile. If you go hiking Arthur’s Seat you will get an amazing view of the city, and Edinburgh Caste thrones majestically in the middle of the ancient city.
St. Giles Catedral is another structure that is absolutely worth visiting. You can book a guided tour or even a rooftop tour that gives you some great views. The city offers different kinds of tours, one of the most popular are the Ghost Tours that run after dark. Do they need any further introduction?
To get to Edinburgh, the easiest way is to take a plane to Edinburgh Airport. From there you can take a bus or the tram to Princess Street and you find yourself central. The tram tickets are easy to buy on the automats at the airport and you get a discount for buying a return ticket at the same time. Further, if you come from the UK, there are trains running from several major cities. The main train station in Edinburgh is Waverley which is centrally situated between the Old Town and the New Town.
There are several hostels and hotels in all price classes to choose from. I can recommend Budget Backpackers in Cowgate. They offer cheap prices and the facilities are clean. This is also a place to easily connect with other travelers.
Beautiful Cities in Slovenia
Chelsea from Pack More into Life
Lake Bled, Slovenia
With so many beautiful places to visit in Europe, it is often hard to narrow down between the choices. One place that isn’t always on everyone’s radar is Lake Bled, Slovenia. After living in Europe for over 2 years, I can attest that it is one of our favorite places to visit.
Slovenia packs a punch with outdoor activities, mystical castles (including one tucked into a cave with a robin hood style story), historic churches built on an island surrounded by a beautiful blue lake and a medieval castle overlooking it all. Lake Bled is about an hours drive from the capital city of Ljubljana and you’ll want a rental car to explore the surrounding area.
The town itself is situated on the lake with plenty of hotels and restaurants to choose from. We stayed in a little dog-friendly Airbnb just up the hill, but the Garden Village Bled is popular with their treehouses and glamping style tents. Lake Bled is also perfect for kids with a train that circles the lake, playgrounds along the lake to explore and a lakeside pool area with toys and sandbox (in the summer).
You can rent a rowboat or hire a pletna boat with a captain to help you across. Kids will enjoy ringing the bell in the church on the island and exploring the bell tower. Then grab some ice cream and just linger to enjoy the views. As you can see, Lake Bled is a true delight and not as crowded as other destinations in Europe.
There are so many great things to do in Lake Bled making it a top Europe destination to visit.
Beautiful Cities in Spain
Serena from Serena’s Lenses
Barcelona, the capital of Cataluña in Spain, is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe for good reasons. Barcelona is known for its cuisine, amazing architecture, beautiful gardens, stunning cathedrals, beaches, and mountains.
There are many direct flights to Barcelona from within Spain and other cities in Europe, making it extremely easy to visit. You can also take a train to Barcelona from Madrid, San Sebastián and other Spanish cities. The best time to visit Barcelona is during the spring and fall when the temperature is lower and less humid. There are many areas to stay in Barcelona and for first-time visitors, it’s best to stay in Eixample or the Gothic Quarter to be close to the attractions and public transit.
There are so many things to do in Barcelona for all types of travelers. If you are into architecture and churches then you must visit the Gaudí houses, in particular, Casa Batlló, Casa Milà, and Sagrada Familia, the most beautiful church in the world and Gaudi’s unfinished masterpiece. If you are into gardens and parks then check out Park Guell (another Gaudi’s masterpiece), Ciutadella Park and the Parc del Laberint d’Horta and you won’t be disappointed. If you want to relax on a beach then Barceloneta, the man-made beach in Barcelona is where you want to be.
Lastly, Montjuïc and Mount Tibidabo are two famous mountains in Barcelona with various attractions on top that you can visit. If you are into cuisine then check out Mercado de la Boqueria on the famous street La Rambla.
Patrick from German Backpacker
While tourists coming to Europe often seem to overlook Madrid (especially compared to the highly popular Barcelona), it is one of my favorite European cities which you certainly shouldn’t miss! Sure, you won’t find the famous Sagrada Familia and beaches in Madrid – however, the city is much more authentic and much less overcrowded than Barcelona and therefore my favorite place in Spain. There’s much to do and to see, with the beautiful Retiro Park, famous museums such as El Prado and La Reina Sofia as well as numerous plazas, cathedrals and historic buildings. Madrid is the perfect place to get to know the Spanish “way of life”, to enjoy the local cuisine and to soak in this cosmopolitan city to the fullest. There are free walking tours taking place every day, which will give you a good first overview of the place.
Besides sightseeing, Madrid is also famous for its nightlife! I had some of the best party nights of my life in Spain and a night out in Madrid should definitely be part of your itinerary. Just keep in mind that everything starts late here, and while the clubs won’t get busy before 2 am, you most luckily won’t get home before sunrise. Enjoy Madrid!
Talek Nantes from Travels with Talek
Oviedo, the capital of the Principality of Asturias in northern Spain, is a traveler’s paradise. Visitors to Spain sometimes overlook this pretty city in favor of the better-known Barcelona and Madrid. But Oviedo is worth a long, leisurely visit all to itself.
The city possesses all the trappings of the classic Spanish town. It has wide boulevards, spacious leafy plazas surrounded by arches, wonderful medieval churches and monasteries and winding streets. Major museums include the Museum of Fine Arts and the Archeological Museum. Nearby are a magnificent collection of pre-Romanesque structures dating from the 9th Century and designated UNESCO World Heritage sites. Some were the previous homes of Asturian royalty.
There is a lot more to Oviedo than culture and art. It is also a great place to sample Asturian cuisine, music, and local traditions. The city’s signature dish is the fabada Asturiana, a hearty white bean stew with sausages and greens. The typical drink is the lightly alcoholic sidra, or cider.
The best place to sample Oviedo’s culinary treats is on Gascona street. This street, near the town center, is full of traditional restaurants. On many evenings musicians will play traditional music with drums and bagpipes in the restaurants and encourage the patrons to sing along.
Amber from With Husband In Tow
San Sebastian, Spain
World-renowned for its Basque Country cuisine and Michelin Star dining, San Sebastian also happens to be one of the most beautiful cities in Spain. A relatively small city of just under 200,000 residents in Northern Spain, San Sebastian sits on the Bay of Biscay. It is a 30-minute drive from the French border and four and a half hours from Madrid.
Surrounded on three sides by mountains and to the north by Concha Bay, San Sebastian’s natural beauty is second to none. San Sebastian’s la Concha Beach is the ideal escape to beat the heat of a Spanish summer. Dating back to the Romans, San Sebastian’s man-made beauty has been influenced over the years.
A number of architectural styles including Gothic, Baroque, Belle Epoque, and modernist can be seen throughout the city. In the heart of San Sebastian stands the 17th century Gothic Revival Cathedral of the Good Shepherd. The ultra-modern Aquarium Donostia is the perfect spot to visit for family and architecture lovers.
For those who love food, San Sebastian is the place to visit. Head over to Parte Vieja, old town, to explore San Sebastian’s famous pintxos bars. It’s an experience just wondering through the old town of the city exploring and eating the best pintxos in San Sebastian. San Sebastian can be reached by car or train from Madrid, Barcelona, and Bilbao. The nearest airport is an hours drive in Bilbao. For accommodations, the crown jewel in terms of style and comfort is the stunning Hotel Maria Cristina at the edge of the old town.
Daniel James from Layer Culture
When searching for beautiful cities in Europe, make sure you check out Cordoba. Home to a gigantic mosque built in 786, Cordoba is a mid-sized city located in the center of Andalusia, Spain. The mosque is a truly spectacular landmark that attracts thousands of new people to Cordoba every year.
If traveling from Madrid you can easily get to Cordoba by bus or plane, all depending on how much time you have. On arrival to Cordoba, you’ll really feel like you’ve gone back in a time machine.
As you stroll along the winding streets and cobbled stones paths, you’ll need to ensure you have some comfortable walking shoes because the city has so much to see on foot. One unforgettable sight is the arrangement of floral balconies and patios, which are what get most visitors to Cordoba in the mood to discover more of its streets.
Most of which modern day vehicles cannot fit down. You can also walk down to the Calleja de las Flores which is another popular attraction to see. Make sure you’ve got your best camera ready as this is where you’ll have an opportunity to get the picture perfect postcard shot of Andalusian life and culture.
Beautiful Cities in Switzerland
Joanne from Sunsets and Roller Coasters
Basel is a beautiful medieval city nestled on the Swiss border next to France and Germany. The Rhine River, with its’ beautiful promenade and riverside restaurants, runs through the city thereby making it one of the most picturesque cities in Switzerland.
Both sides of the city are linked by a series of bridges including the Mittlere Brucke (the middle bridge) which has, at its center, a beautiful little chapel. Make sure to look at the beautifully colorful tiled roof!
Basel is filled with activities for young and old. Enjoy the multitude of amazing museums including the Tinguely Museum (modern art), the Kunstmuseum (fine art) and Naturhistorisches Museum Basel (natural history). Basel is actually home to more museums than any other city in Switzerland. If traveling with little ones, you’ll want to check out the Basel Zoo which is known internationally for its’ dedication to the environment and its’ protection of endangered animals
Standing majestically above the Rhine is the Basel Munster, one of the most beautiful cathedrals in Europe. The view from the tower is stunning and is a must-see destination when visiting! Transportation in Basel is amazing but our favorite way to reach the Munster is by wandering through the cobblestone streets of Basel’s Old Town or by taking a small traditional ferry across the Rhine to its’ base.
Basel has an amazing array of beautiful fountains and bright green basilisks which are one of the city’s symbols. Be sure to seek them out!
Next up: take a look at the motivating travel quotes to inspire your next trip!
Liona from Travels with Ted
Geneva is a Swiss city on the southern end of Lac Lèman (also known as Lake Geneva), located where the River Rhone drains the lake. The city is surrounded by mountains and on clear days offers stunning views of Mont Blanc. However, it is not just the natural setting that makes this city one of the most beautiful in Europe, the architecture from the old town down to the lake’s shore, is both classically European and uniquely Geneva.
The best thing to do in Geneva is to explore the city’s numerous parks. I visited in late Spring so they were filled with tulips in full bloom. There are also delightful fountains everywhere in the city, especially the parks. Geneva’s most recognizable feature is the Jet d’eau, a 140m jet of water that shoots vertically up from the surface of the lake. What was once a practical feature to release pressure in a water pipe has become the city’s most iconic image. One of the popular tourist activities is to see how close you can get to the fountain without getting soaked.
Most people visiting the city fly into Geneva Airport which is just 10 minutes from the center of the city on the excellent public transport system. From elsewhere in Switzerland, and much of Europe, it is easily accessible by train. Most hotels can be found on the lakeside near to the central train station.
Last Words on the Most Beautiful Cities in Europe
A trip to the many beautiful cities in Europe will enrich your life. I need to find a way to explore all of them. The beautiful cities in Europe will seduce you to come back over and over again.
One of the best ways to explore Europe and get a taste of what each country has to offer is a Mediterranean cruise. Do you have a favorite beautiful city in Europe?
Next up: take a look at the best summer Europe destinations to visit this summer!