Europe has its fair share of boring and uninspiring cities, but it also has a great deal of captivating and beautiful ones that will make you fall in love with this continent.
What Are the Characteristic of a Beautiful European City?
It’s easy to recognize spectacular cities if you traveled long enough. They are colorful and energetic. Have beautiful squares and a balance of large and small streets that should allow for getting lost, on occasion. They are big and yet compact and easy to explore. But most importantly, they have very distinct personalities that can’t be replicated anywhere else.
10 Most Beautiful European Cities
Because there are so many remarkable cities in Europe, the task of putting together a short list of must-sees is not easy. There will always be stunning places that are left out of such lists. With that in mind, here are my choices for the top 10 most beautiful cities to visit in Europe:
1. Rome, Italy
I can’t think of a greater and more beautiful city to visit in Europe than Rome. It’s the epitome of culture, history and charm. Full of architectural delights, impressive churches, and ancient ruins that blend perfectly with the modern architecture of the city. With its unparalleled history, Rome is the third most visited city in Europe.
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2. Florence, Italy
It’s easy to fall in love with Florence, the home of the Renaissance and the birthplace of our modern world. Its great history, magical gardens and abundance of art will steal your heart right away.
Florence is home to more than one million works of Renaissance (among them Michelangelo‘s David and Botticelli’s Birth of Venus), as well as some of the world’s most famous attractions, including the Duomo, Ponte Vecchio, Uffizi Gallery, and the Piazza della Signoria.
The city is also the birthplace of fashion brands like Gucci, Pucci, and Roberto Cavalli. Even though I return time and again, I still want to come back for more.
3. Barcelona, Spain
Spain’s capital, Barcelona, is one the most beautiful European cities, guaranteed to make the list of any European itinerary.
If what you want is a big dose of culture, Tapas and Sangria, Barcelona is you place. Or if you just want to spend some time on its beautiful beaches, that works too. Whatever your taste, Barcelona has you covered. Every time you go, you discover something new.
4. Paris, France
Paris is one of the most sought after destinations in Europe and for a good reason. It’s charming, rich in history, easy to walk, and very atmospheric. There is a lot to see and do here, so if plan to visit the city you should plan to spend a minimum three days in Paris.
Paris is so rich in museum, century-old museums, historic monuments, vast art collections and beautiful architecture that you’ll never end up of things to do here. To say nothing about the divine cuisine and multitude of chic cafés and restaurants that will spoil your taste buds.
5. Budapest, Hungary
Like with every place you visit, there are some that you’ll fall in love with instantly. For me, that was Budapest. For some reason, I liked it more than any other, but that doesn’t mean it will have the same effect on you.
The city’s grandiose architecture and rich history make Budapest one of the 10 most beautiful European cities.
Budapest is separated by the River Danube into Buda and Pest, two different parts with very distinctive personalities. Buda is the old the old, more historical of the city where you’ll find many of Budapest old town’s attractions. Budapest old town is also
Pest is the flat, more modern part on the east bank of the Danube. Here is where city really comes alive and the social life takes place. Here is where you’ll find many of Budapest attractions, shops, cultural venues, and the best restaurants in Budapest.
6. Istanbul, Turkey
Istanbul is not an easy place to sum up. First of all, it spreads on two continents: Europe and Asia. Istanbul is an interesting mix of Oriental and Western civilization where the former tends to overshadow the latter.
With its magnificent mosques, beautifully ornate palaces, tumultuous bazaars and miles of gorgeous waterfront views, Istanbul is undeniably a very unique and beautiful city. To say nothing of the delicious Turkish food you’ll find here.
7. Riga, Latia
Riga is all about Art Nouveau architecture, a style that gave the city its trademark look. Intricate floral designs, expressive masks and elaborate geometric forms still decorate the building façades all over the city.
The city became increasingly popular since 1991, when Latvia regained its independence. Riga is today a vibrant cosmopolitan city with lots of attractions like museums, fashionable restaurants and a very rich cultural life.
Besides its stunning architecture, the city brags about one of the most beautiful old towns, filled with winding alleyways and charming squares, old churches and museums.
8. Stockholm, Sweden
Stockholm is a metropolis on water. Despite spreading across 14 islands, the city seems very compact and easy to explore, with very good connections. Stockholm is clean, stylish and sophisticated, with impressive buildings, grand boulevards, and relaxing green spaces. It’s one of the most desirable cities to visit in Europe.
By virtue of its location on the shores of Lake Mälaren, Stockholm is one of the most beautiful European cities, although it never raised to the fame of Paris or London.
9. Dresden, Germany
Among the big European cities, Dresden is perhaps the most overlooked, although it is quite fascinating. One of the reasons is that at the end of World War II the city was almost destroyed.
The second reason is that after the war, when Germany was divided, Dresden ended up in the Russian sector and the city remained a pile of rubbish for years and years. But after the reunification of Germany in the early 1990s, Dresden changed for the better, rebuilding its old churches and beautiful buildings.
10. Prague, Czech Republic
If you like medieval cities you’ll love Prague. It is one of the best historically preserved cities in Europe, home to the oldest functioning astronomical clock and the tavern where Pilsner beer was first produced.
The “undiscovered” city in Central Europe had only emerged from behind the Iron Curtain of Communism in 1989, but since then millions of tourists flock to Prague every year. And why wouldn’t they? Prague’s Bohemian Old Town Square, the churches and the cobbled streets are so charming and inviting that it would be almost a sin not to walk around and enjoy the scene.
What is your favorite city in Europe? Leave me a comment in the section below.