25 Incredible European Cities That You Should See For Yourself

Travelling is one of the most exciting and amazing experiences. There is a wide range of places that people can choose from when planning a trip: from beaches to historical ruins; from mountains to giant cities filled with skyscrapers. Today everything is within easy reach as long as you have enough time and money, mainly due to the fact that there is plenty of information on the Internet. The following list will show you the best cities to travel to in Europe. It’s hard to say which one is better than the other, as they are all magical in their own unique way. But you don’t want to miss #19, #8 and #1!

#25. San Marino

The Most Serene Republic (as it is known by local people) of San Marino is an enclaved microstate close to Italy. The length of the state is no longer than 60 km and it’s surrounded by the Italian Peninsula and the Apennine Mountains. Although this tiny country has its interesting landmarks, it does not receive many tourists. However, this could actually be an advantage, since its landmarks are not as crammed with people as other mainstream destinations.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic. 

This country was founded in the 4th century, and its historical center is considered a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO because of its striking medieval architecture. The highest point of the country is Monte Titano, where you can find three different medieval towers and the Guaita Fortress. As you can see in the picture above, the fortress offers a breathtaking view of the capital city.

#24. Granada

Located at the southern region of Andalucia and at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains, the city of Granada offers a magnificent medieval architecture. Many of the most famous buildings date from the Moorish occupation, especially the Alhambra Palace and the Generalife. Granada is also the birthplace of the famous Spaniard poet Federico García Lorca.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic. 

The Alhambra and Generalife are unprecedented places in Europe. With romantic gardens, different species of flowers, plants, and fountains, both places deserve a full day visit. Both of them were built by the Nasrid Dynasty as fortresses. The Alhambra was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1984 and up to these days is a must visit if you are in Spain. Recently, some episodes of the HBO series Game Of Thrones were filmed there.

#23. Dublin

The capital city of Ireland is well-known because of its medieval castles, cobblestone streets, and mainly because of the 12th-century Saint Patrick’s Cathedral. This 10th-century Viking’s settlement is one of the oldest cities in Europe. If you are interested in History, then Dublin is the place to go, as it is living proof of Europe’s many ancient cultures and civilizations.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic. 

The Dublin Castle was first founded as the fortress of England’s King John in 1204. After the Norman invasion of Ireland, the castle adopted the typical Norman courtyard design. Another monument that is worth visiting is the Spire Of Dublin, which unlike the landmarks mentioned above, expresses the modern architecture of the 21st century. There are also many green spaces around the city, such as Phoenix Park, Herbert Park, and St. Stephen’s Green. Last but not least, nobody should miss the old library of Trinity College that keeps the Book Of Kells.

#22. Venice

If you are planning to travel to Europe, don’t miss the chance to meet the so-called “city between the canals”: obviously, we’re talking about the city of Venice in Italy. The city is situated on a group of more than 100 small islands, all of them connected by canals and by more than 400 bridges. Venice is known as the “Queen Of The Adriatic” and “The Floating City”: nothing more suitable than these names for one of the most visited cities in the world.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic. 

Due to its invaluable cultural heritage, the city has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As one may expect, the city receives thousands of tourists every year, who come here to celebrate art and architecture. Of course, nobody wants to lose the opportunity of riding a gondola, just like the people in the picture above! However, it is also important to mention that many buildings are suffering material damages due to the fact that some cruise ships sail too close to the facades.

#21. Paris

What can we say about the capital and most popular city in France that you don’t know about? The city of Paris has been in the imaginary of most people since… well, since the beginning of modern history! Not only is Paris a beautiful city, but it has also been the home of the French Revolution, which changed the world’s political history. The city is also filled with many historical monuments and museums. Furthermore, the historical district along the Seine is a UNESCO Heritage Site.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic. 

The most famous museum is definitely the Louvre, which is one of the most visited art museums in the world. Just so you picture how famous it is, in 2013 alone, it has received 9,3 million tourists! However, you also have other important museums, like The Musée d’Orsay and Musée de l’Orangerie. Of course, the Eiffel Tower is also a must. In fact, did you know that it is the most-visited paid monument in the world, receiving over 6 million people per year?

#20. Florence

Located in the region of Tuscany in Italy, Florence used to be the center of the medieval European trade and finance and was one of the wealthiest cities of that era. The city is known as “The Birthplace Of The Renaissance” and “The Athens Of The Middle Ages”. In fact, if you walk through the city’s streets you will see Renaissance art everywhere! From its architecture and monuments to its houses and streets.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic. 

There are also a few museums you can visit, like Uffizi Galery and the Palazzo Pitti. Another beautiful landmark is the Cattedrale di Santa Maria dei Fiore Cathedral: this striking cathedral took 140 years to build and has a total of 463 stone steps, which leads to a gigantic dome through which you can have a sweeping view of the entire city. Finally, if you want to buy local crafts, then the Lorenzo Market is the place to go. Definitely, this city is a must visit in Europe!

#19. Rome

The special comune and capital city of Italy, Rome, is one of the most visited sites in Europe. Since the historical foundation of the city by Romulus and Remo, Rome has been a city that everyone falls in love with. You can find different types of architecture in the city, from Ancient Rome, Renaissance, and Baroque styles, all the way to Fascist and modern architecture.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic. 

There many green areas to visit, such as Villa Borghese and Villa Doria Pamphili.  Rome is also a city famous for its innumerable fountains with different styles, from Classical and Medieval to Baroque and Neoclassical. The most famous of them is probably The Trevi Fountain, designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, which is shown in the picture above. Last but not least, there are literally hundreds of statues spread throughout the city, including the famous Talking Statues Of Rome. 

#18. Barcelona

Located in Spain, Barcelona has a rich cultural heritage and is definitely a major tourist destination. Did you know that the number of overnight tourists in Barcelona reached nearly 9 million in 2017? The city is famous because of its architecture designed by Antonio Gaudí and Luis Domènech I Montaner. Gaudí was a Spaniard architect known as the great exponent of Catalan Modernism. Just take a walk through the city and you will find amazing sites like Park Guel, Palau Guell, and Casa Batló.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic. 

The symbol of Barcelona is the minor Basilica Of Sagrada Familia, perhaps the most perfect expression of Gothic architecture in the world. There are also many museums to visit, like The National Museum Of Art Of Catalonia and The Barcelona Museum Of Contemporary Art. And if you want to get some fresh air, Barcelona offers more than 10 green spaces to visit and relax. Keep on reading to see what our next destination is!

#17. Helsinki

If you are thinking about a new and exotic place to visit, we are sure that Helsinki in Finland is one of the best options. Helsinki has one of the highest urban standards of living in the world and has been ranked the world’s most liveable city in 2012. As you may imagine, there are lots of places to visit during your stay.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

Firstly, there are a variety of museums to visit, like the National Museum Of Finland, which offers a vast historical collection from prehistoric times all the way up to the 21st century. Equally interesting are the Helsinki City Museum and The Finnish National Gallery, which itself consists of three different museums: the Ateneum Art Museum, the Sinebrychoff Art Museum, and the Kiasma Art Museum. It is also advisable to just wander around the city’s streets and appreciate the numerous Art Nouveau-influenced buildings which belong to the romantic nationalism trend.

#16. Bruges

Located in West Flanders in Belgium, the city of Bruges is a prominent UNESCO World Heritage SiteBecause of its streets full of canals, it is currently considered as “The Venice Of The North”. When you walk along the cobblestone streets, it truly feels as if you were entering a movie. The triangled houses kind of resemble the traditional Amsterdam homes, don’t they?

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic. 

But the city’s architecture isn’t the only feature worth mentioning. There are many activities you can do: for instance, you can enjoy the best concerts by visiting the De Werf and Aquarius Theater, while you can also go to museums like Groeningemuseum, the Archaeological Museum, and the Old St John’s HospitalBruges has appeared in many novels and movies, like In Bruges and Floris. 

#15. Madrid

The capital city of Spain, Madrid, is both a historical site and a modern city. Actually, the city has one of the most modern infrastructures around Europe, but at the same time, it has preserved the medieval architecture of its most historic neighborhoods and streets.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic. 

By taking a walk through the city you can see the Royal Palace Of Madrid, The Royal Theatre with its restored 1850 Opera House, the Buen Retiro Park founded in 1631, and the National Library building founded in 1712. It’s quite easy to get from one place to another, as Madrid has one of the world’s best public transport systems.

#14. Budapest

The beautiful city of Budapest is located in Hungary, along the Danube River. Budapest offers many places to visit, like the Museum Of Fine Artes, the Hungarian National Museum and the Hungarian State Opera House. If you cross the bridge that separates the two cities, you can find amazing places like the Hungarian Parliament, which is the third largest Legislative building of the world, and the Buda Castle.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic. 

If you want to have a relaxing moment while in Budapest, you can go to one of the more than 80 geothermal springs, which form the largest thermal water cave system in the world. It is also worth mentioning that many feature films have been set in Budapest, such as An American Rhapsody, Zoo In Budapest, Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol t and The Grand Budapest Hotel.

#13. Vienna

Vienna is the largest city and capital of Austria. The city has lived many important historical events, such as World War I. The city center has been named a UNESCO Wolrd Heritage Site, though in July of 2017 it has moved to the list of World Heritage Sites In Danger. It is known as “The City Of Music” because of its musical legacy, but it is also known as “The City Of Dreamssince it was once the home of Sigmund Freud. 

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic. 

The city features Medieval and Baroque architecture, like the imperial palaces of Hofburg and Schonbrunn. Other cultural landmarks that can be visited include the Burgtheater, the Wiener Staatsoper, and the Vienna Boy’s Choir. Keep on reading, there are only 12 European cities left!

#12. Prizren

The capital city of Kosovo lies on the foot of the majestic Star Mountains, and to this day it is characterized by its Ottoman-era architecture. Thus, it offers a perfect combination of both natural and cultural heritage. Besides, this amazing city is perfect for people who are passionate about history. In fact, did you know that during the 14th century, Prizren was a large cultural and trading center and even minted its own coinage?

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic. 

The city also has a modern side, where you can see how the Bosniak, Turk, and Romani cultures live all together. Each of these cultures has its own religion, celebrations, and traditions. Thus, when you walk through the city’s streets, you will come across Catholic cathedrals, Orthodox churches, mosques… and even Turkish baths as well!

#11. London

London is the capital and largest city of England and the United Kingdom, lying on the banks of the River Thames. It’s one of the most visited cities in all of Europe and offers many places to visit. Its amazing architecture is reflected in the fact that the city contains four World Heritage Sites: the Tower Of London, Kew Gardens, the Palace Of Westminster and the historic settlement of Greenwich. 

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic. 

Other important places to visit are the Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, Piccadilly Circus, Tower Bridge, and The Shard. There are also several museums and galleries that are worth a visit, like the British Museum and Tate Modern. And if you are a true fan of The Beatles, you must visit Abbey Road and take the traditional photo, as well as visit The Cavern Club. 

#10. Copenhagen

Copenhagen, located in Denmark, was originally a Viking fishing village that was established in the 10th century. After a plague in the 18th century, the government built the prestigious district of Frederiksstaden and founded cultural institutions such as the Royal Theatre and The Royal Academy Of Fine Arts.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic. 

In Frederiksstaden district you can find the Amalienborg Palace and several elegant 18th century Rococo mansions. Copenhagen is known as “The City Of Spires” because of the spires and towers of its churches and castles, like the Church Of Our Saviour, Christiansborg Palace, and the City Hall. The city features a perfect combination of historical places and modern architecture.

#9. Prague

Located in the Czech Republic, Prague is one of the major cultural centers of Europe and has survived all of the major wars that took place during the 20th century. There are many types of architecture in the city, which range from Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque. The medieval buildings of Old Town and the city’s many Gothic churches make Prague a unique and amazing place to visit.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic. 

The city offers many cultural attractions like the Prague Castle, Charles Bridge, and the Prague Astronomical Clock. The extensive historic center of Prague has been included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. Our recommendation is just to walk through this amazing city and fall in love with it. Every corner is worth it!

#8. Mostar

Located in Boznia and Herzegovina, Mostar was named after the bridge keepers, the mostari, that in the medieval times guarded the Stari Most, commonly known as the Old Bridge. The Old Bridge was built by the Ottomans in the 16th century and is one of the most visited sites in all Bosnia and Herzegovina.  It’s also considered as an exemplary piece of Islamic architecture.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic. 

A big part of the city was destroyed during World War I and World War II but today Mostar is a city where different types of architecture live at the same time. However, dozens of buildings have been restored during the past years. Perhaps, the clearest example is the restoration process of the Old Bridge, a true symbol of reconciliation and peace between the diversity of cultures in Boznia and Herzegovina.

#7. Bratislava

In Eastern Europe, there are many cities to visit and the capital of Slovakia, Bratislava is definitely one of them. The city was once the legislative center of the Kingdom Of Hungary from 1536 to 1783. It also has Austrian, Bulgarian, Croatian and Hungarian influences.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic. 

The Bratislava Castle is located 85 meters above the Danube. The site was once the acropolis of a Celtic town, then part of the Roman Limes, and finally it was used as a huge Slavic fortified settlement. The actual castle has been restored three times with three different types of architecture, from Gothic to Renaissance. Nowadays, it is the most visited place in Bratislava.

#6. Stockholm

Located in Sweden, Stockholm is one of the smallest cities in Europe but the one that boasts the most preserved medieval architecture. The city hosts the annual Nobel Prize ceremonies and banquet and it’s well-known because of its metro, especially for the decor of its stations.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic. 

The city has cultural places to visit, like The Drottningholm Palace, Skogskyrkogården (The Woodland Cemetery) and Birka. Moreover, Stockholm has been named the European Capital Of Culture. The oldest area of the city is Gamla Stan, where you still can see the medieval remains, like churches, mansions, and palaces.

#5. Tallinn

At the northern coast of Estonia, there is a beautiful city surrounded by 15th-century defensive towers: we’re talking about the country’s capital city of Tallinn. The Old Town of Tallinn is a well-preserved medieval city and protected by UNESCO. Besides, this city is the major political, financial and cultural center of Estonia.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic. 

In the city, you can visit places like Seaplane Harbour of Estonian Maritime Museum, the Tallinn Zoo, the Kadriog Park and the Estonian Open Air Museum. Only in the past few years has it become a touristic city, so hurry up and come here before it becomes mainstream!

#4. Vatican City

The independent city-state located in Rome is well-known for being the principal place of the Holy See, where you can find the Saint Peter’s Basilica and Piazza San Pietro. There are many religious and cultural sites to visit, such as the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums. There are also many green areas, known as the Vatican Gardens, that where founded during the Renaissance and Baroque era.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic. 

The Sistine Chapel is famous for its frescos, which include works by Perugino and Botticelli and the Last Judgment by Michelangelo. Of course, The Vatican City is considered one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and even today constitutes one of the world’s architectural centers.

#3. Porto

Porto is one of the oldest European centers located in Portugal. If you are in planning your next destination, Porto will offer a medieval riverside district with cobblestone streets where you can drink the best wine of the region. The city is unique because of its architecture and bridges that are all around the city.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic. 

The most popular event in Porto is the St. John Festival, where people have a vase with bush basil decorated with a small poem. There are many museums to visit as well as art galleries. One of the most visited places in Porto is the Romanesque Cathedralwhich began to be built all the way back in 1110!

#2. Krakow

The Old Town of Krakow has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is considered as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe to live. In 2000 it was named the official European Capital Of Culture by the European Union and it is a must visit place in Europe.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic. 

There are many places to visit in Krakow, like the Main Market Square, the St. Mary’s Basilica and the Sukiennice Cloth Hall. Some people claim that it’s actually the largest medieval city in all Europe. You have many museums such as the National Art Museum and also important architectural places as the Zygmunt Bell and the Wawel Cathedral. But can you guess which city leads our list?

#1. Amsterdam

Amsterdam, located in the Netherlands, is one of the most visited and amazing cities in all Europe. It offers plenty of cultural activities, not to mention its artistic heritage. As a matter of fact, Amsterdam has been the home of two of the world’s most important artists: Van Gogh and Rembrandt. Besides, one of the most valuable attractions are the historical canals that surround the city.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic. 

If you are interested in museums and also in history, you should visit the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, the Stedelijk Museum, Hermitage Amsterdam and the Anne Frank House. Moreover, the city is well-known because of its nightlife and festival activity.

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