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Top 10 Most Beautiful Cities in Europe

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Jen Hong

With more than 800 options, choosing Europe’s most stunning cities can be challenging. While everyone has a different taste, these European destinations are sure to capture the heart of every traveler – regardless of their age, gender, or beliefs. 

After all – it is nearly impossible to resist the charm of mesmerizing beaches, picturesque architecture, and scenic hillsides. With our help, discover the top 10 most beautiful cities in Europe. 

1. Florence, Italy

Italy is packed with beautiful cities and towns, but Florence surely comes high on the list. The Tuscan capital is known for its architectural marvels and history, which is why it is such a fascinating destination. As you wander through the city’s streets, you will feel like you have traveled back in time. 

Since Florence was the place where Renaissance started, the architectural style can be seen on every street. While Palazzo Pitti, San Marco, and the Florence Cathedral are some of the most known landmarks, examples of spectacular architecture can be found everywhere.

Florence is also loved for its amazing museums and galleries, which feature world-renowned artists like Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo ar Massacio. But there is plenty to do and see even if you don’t visit any museums. 

Head to nearby towns like Fiesole to admire the scenic cityscape. The beauty of the countryside can be felt in Volterra, which is set between the valleys of Cecina and Dell’Era. Just imagine – rolling green hills, which seem to extend even beyond the horizon. The views really are breathtaking! 

If you wish to experience the magic for yourself, take a look at our Italy itinerary.

2.Heraklion, Crete

Rugged mountains, crystal clear beaches, green valleys, and lush forests – Greece really is one of the most beautiful countries in Europe. Whichever island and city you decide to visit, you are in for a treat, but Heraklion, in Crete, is one that should definitely be on your travel bucket list. 

The ancient city was founded in 824, which is why a breath of history can be felt all around it. A perfect example is the old town that is surrounded by a huge stone citadel. Inside you will find stunning old buildings, some of which are even historical monuments. The narrow winding streets, charming churches, and chapels all create a wonderful atmosphere.

Heraklion also has its fair share of breathtaking beaches. As you move to the west, you will find more and more sandy beaches. The dark blue-colored water, what the Mediterranean is known for, really is a captivating sight. To find more ideas for your next trip to Greece, check out our itinerary.

3. Lugano, Switzerland

Those who prefer to be in nature will definitely be enchanted by Lugano. The main reason why so many people swarm to the Swiss city is, of course, the picture-perfect Lake Lugano, which is considered to be the country’s most beautiful lake. 

Since Lugano is set between water and the mountains, its visitors have the opportunity to experience the city in many ways. If you decide to head to Monte Bre, Monte San Salvatore, or Monte Generoso, you will enjoy awe-inspiring views of the lake from different angles. While reaching the summit can be a challenge, the vistas are well worth it.

With sashaying palm trees and the stunning lakefront, it might seem like you have traveled to nearby Italy, but the impeccable cleanliness is what the Swiss are known for. Wish to enjoy the unparalleled landscapes? See our Switzerland itinerary.

4. Prague, Czech Republic

The capital of the Czech Republic has often been named one of the best cities in the world. That is no surprise – thanks to its hilltop views and spectacular architecture, it really is hard not to fall in love with Prague. The highlight of the city is its Old Town, which, in some ways, has a strong resemblance to Paris, yet isn’t as crowded and touristic. 

Prague has many incredible architectural landmarks. The Powder Tower, St Nicholas Church, Charles Bridge, and Astronomical Clock – it is difficult to name just a few of them. Although the city is usually renowned for its architecture, there are stunning gardens and forests to explore too. 

Cobbled streets, alleyways, and charming churches aren’t the only things to admire. Wander along the banks of the Vltava or enjoy the hillside views at Letna Park to feel closer to nature. Either way – you’ll have a great time!

5. Budapest, Hungary

As far as stunning cities on the water go, Budapest is probably the best. The combination of the fantastic Budapest architecture and the beautiful River Danube makes it such an attractive travel destination. Since the city has been invaded by Celts, Romans, Turks, Habsburgs, and German Nazis and has been under the control of the Soviet Union, it has a mix of Eastern and Western Europe architecture.

 The Houses of Parliament – an awe-inspiring Neo-Gothic and Baroque building – itself is just worth the trip.

From the lions guarding the Széchenyi Chain Bridge to small details on street corners, you will spot impressive sculptures anywhere you go. While the city is beautiful in the daytime, it is an entirely different experience to see it in the dark. 

As it lights up, the Gothic and Renaissance architecture seems to become even more impressive.

6. Bergen, Norway

Since the weather in Norway can get pretty rough, it is often overlooked by adventurers. That is a pity because Bergan certainly is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. Unlike other places, the Norwegian city boasts incredible natural beauty. Although you are in a city, it feels like you are close to nature.

On every corner, you are surrounded by mountains, which seem straight from a storybook or movie. One of the most beautiful parts of Bergen is the historic Bryggen area, which will be the perfect photo backdrop. The picturesque line of colorful houses has been named UNESCO’s World Heritage Site.

The Norwegian city is often called the gateway to the fjords. If you decide to explore the geological formations, expect beautiful mountains, small villages, and scenic views along the way.

7. Brussels, Belgium

Brilliant Art Nouveau architecture, impressive street art, and vibrant neighborhoods are what make Brussels so special. The birthplace of Victor Horta includes glorious Art Nouveau buildings all around the city, but the Musical Instruments Museum and the Royal Greenhouses are probably the best examples. 

Since the city was founded around AD 979, you can expect to see also incredible masterpieces of late Medieval architecture.

But beautiful buildings aren’t the only cool thing about Brussels. Europe’s political capital is full of beautifully landscaped gardens and parks. The Place du Petit Sablon features 48 bronze statues, while Le Botanique, which used to be the National Botanical Garden, is packed with rare trees that can’t be found in many places in the world.

The beauty doesn’t stop outside the city’s center. Parc Tournay-Solvay, a short ride away, has a rose garden that really is to die for.

8. Riga, Latvia

The Baltic States may not be your typical travel destination, but don’t let that stop you. Regardless of whether you decide to visit Estonia, Latvia, or Lithuania, you are in for a treat. 

Riga, the capital of Latvia, stands out with its striking Art Nouveau architecture. In fact, the city has the highest concentration in the world of Art Nouveau buildings. Furthermore, Old Riga, which is recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage site, has a history that dates back more than 800 years. 

With magnificent churches, romantic cobblestone streets, and the unique architecture like the House of Blackheads make it such an attractive destination.

9. Vienna, Austria

Considered the center of arts and classical music, Vienna is one of Europe’s most stunning cities. Unlike other cities in Europe, ‘only’ 20% of Vienna was destroyed during World War II, which means most of the historical landmarks and royal palaces have managed to keep their beauty throughout the centuries.

The Neo-Gothic City Hall, Gothic St. Stephen’s Cathedral, the Baroque Schonbrunn Palace – the architecture in the Austrian capital really is a feast for the eyes.

While Vienna is a beautiful destination all year round, it becomes an exceptionally magical place during the holiday season. Christmas markets, outdoor ice skating rinks, and festive lighting make it even more fairy-tale-like.

Vienna also has its fair share of magnificent parks, but Burggarten and Volsgarten are considered the best, especially to enjoy the fall foliage.

10. Seville, Spain

Fans of Game of Thrones may recognize Seville – the beautiful city that was used for Mareen and Dorne has regained its popularity in recent years. Home to three UNESCO World Heritage Sites – Real Alcazar, Archivo de Indias, and Seville Cathedral – is full of picturesque buildings and corners.

A highlight of Seville is Santa Cruz – an old Jewish neighborhood that is packed with tiny streets and alleys. What makes it so special is that it is so narrow that cars can’t get through.

The legend states that the largest city in Southern Spain was built by Hercules himself. That wouldn’t be surprising – the birthplace of flamenco has an artistic heritage and historical monuments that are hard to beat. Learn about more beautiful places in our Spain itinerary.

Beauty has many forms, but there is no denying these European destinations will be a real feast for the eyes. So, instead of traveling to London, Paris, Rome, and other classic European cities pick a less touristic destination and uncover the magic it holds. 

Once you are ready for your next adventure and have chosen one of these most beautiful cities in Europe as your destination, check out our article on how to create a travel itinerary.

Jen Hong

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