35 Most Beautiful Cities in Europe to visit in 2023
These 35+ most beautiful cities in Europe are all different, but they each offer their own unique beauty. The list includes super-popular countries such as France, Italy, and Germany, and also some offbeat places like Bosnia Herzegovina, Albania, and more.
Many of these cities are more well-known than others but all of them will leave you breathless with their cultural and natural beauty!
For us, a city is considered beautiful because it has a rich history, is well-maintained, and has a picturesque setting. So here are the 35 prettiest cities in Europe that you must explore once in your lifetime.
35 of the Most Beautiful Cities in Europe that you must visit once in your lifetime
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If there’s one city in Europe that’s synonymous with romance and beauty, it’s Venice. It is one of the oldest and most beautiful cities in Europe.
The unique floating city is built on more than 100 small islands in a lagoon in the Adriatic Sea. It has no roads, only canals – which is why Venice is often called the ‘City of Canals’.
Rightly known for its canals and gondolas, Venice makes for a romantic setting. It also has a rich history and culture that is evident in its architecture and its age-old traditional ways of living.
The best way to explore Venice is by foot or by boat. As you meander through the narrow alleyways and across bridges, you’ll catch glimpses of stunning Italian Renaissance architecture.
Check off the iconic Saint Mark’s Square which is home to St Mark’s Basilica, Doge Palace, and the Campanile Tower that invites you to stunning views of the piazza and the promenade. These are must-do for your one day in Venice itinerary.
Sit by the canal for a nice breakfast or meal, and enjoy a gondola ride in style. Or just people-watch, Venice is a city that you can never tire of.
Venice is all about the experience. If you have a weekend in Venice, do add a trip to Burano and Murano islands.
Read: Best photo spots in Venice | Most beautiful cities in Italy | 10 day Italy itinerary
Arguably the most beautiful city in Europe, Paris needs no introduction.
The ‘City of Light’ is renowned for its fashion, food, art, and architecture. It’s home to some of the world’s most famous landmarks, including the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral, and the Louvre Museum.
The beauty of Paris lies in its narrow lanes, bookshelves on the Seine River, stunning bridges, and pretty cafes. And no matter where you go, you’ll find incredible French architecture, and gorgeous parks and gardens calling out to you.
Visit the historical delights, from museums to architectural gems, gardens and parks, cathedrals, catacombs, and charming boroughs.
Wandering through the neighborhoods of Marais, Montmartre, and Latin Quater will ignite your senses and soul!
The best time to visit Paris is in the spring or fall when the weather is mild and the crowds are thinner. Do add a relaxed one hour Seine River sightseeing cruise when you visit.
Paris truly has something for everyone. It is a classic European destination, one that you can visit multiple times!
Read: How to spend one day in Paris, 3 days in Paris, or 4 days in Paris itinerary | Most beautiful cities in France
Lisbon in Portugal is a city of hills with stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean. It is known for its vibrant culture, delicious food, and beautiful architecture.
With a rich history and culture, that is evident in every nook and cranny of the city, Lisboa sprinkles with a lovely glow everywhere you look!
Visit the historic center of Lisbon, and admire the unique Pombaline architecture, built after the devastating earthquake of 1775.
Step inside Rua Augusta Arch located on the Praça do Comércio or Commerce Square and soak in the views of the Tagus River.
Take a ride on the famous Tram 28 which takes you through some of the city’s most picturesque neighborhoods, because the beauty of Lisbon lies in its winding streets, quaint neighborhoods, lively markets, and beautiful parks.
Or just enjoy the view from one of Lisbon’s many hills.
Do include a trip to Belem and explore its tower, Jerónimos Monastery, April 23 bridge, and the Monument of Discoveries as part of your 3 day Lisbon itinerary!
Lisbon is a city that has something for everyone. Whether you’re interested in its history, and culture, or just want to relax in a beautiful setting, Lisbon is the perfect place for you. It’s one of my personal faves!
Read: Most beautiful cities in Portugal | Best photo spots in Lisbon | 2 days in Lisbon
Amsterdam, Netherlands is an eclectic city with beautiful architecture and vibrant culture. It is known for its tulips, canals, and bicycles.
Wander through the Jordaan neighborhood with its cobbled streets and canals lined with charming 17th-century houses.
The beauty of Amsterdam lies in its narrow canals, quaint bridges, lively markets, and beautiful parks.
Visit the Anne Frank House to learn about the tragic history of Amsterdam during WWII. Or take a stroll through Vondelpark, the largest park in Amsterdam which is perfect for a picnic or a game of frisbee.
Enjoy a chilled beer by a cafe along the canal, or go on a sightseeing cruise, if you are on a short 2 day Amsterdam trip.
Just remember to book all of your tickets early whether it is for the Anne Frank House, Rijksmuseum, or the Van Gogh Museum (and online).
Walking the Dam Square and along the Amstel river canal will make you fall in love with this beautiful city.
Read: Most beautiful cities in the Netherlands | Amsterdam Paris and Brussels itinerary
Bruges is a fairytale city in Belgium’s Flemish region. It’s often called the ‘Venice of the North’ because of its canals and picturesque setting.
Bruges is one of the best-preserved medieval cities in Europe. Its historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s incredibly well-preserved.
The best way to see Bruges is by foot or by boat. As you explore the city, you’ll find plenty of photo-worthy sights, including the Belfry of Bruges, The Markt, and Saint Salvator Cathedral. You can pretty much cover the center by walking, or take a canal cruise to enjoy the city views from the water.
Bruges is also a city with a delicious food scene. Be sure to try the waffles, chocolate, and fries with mayonnaise! We also enjoyed a brewery tour in the city.
Whether you’re interested in history or simply want to enjoy a picturesque setting, Bruges is a must-visit city in Europe.
Read: Belgium Itinerary | Day trips from Brussels Belgium
Prague, Czech Republic
Prague is the capital of the Czech Republic and one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. It’s often called the ‘City of a Hundred Spires’ because of its abundance of churches and other Gothic architecture.
The historic center of Prague is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s filled with beautiful buildings and cobbled streets. And it is a must add to your 2 day Prague itinerary!
Some of the city’s most iconic landmarks include the Charles Bridge, Prague Castle, and Old Town Square.
No trip to Prague would be complete without a visit to the Jewish Quarter. The quarter is home to many synagogues, as well as the famous Old-New Synagogue, which is the oldest active synagogue in Europe.
Plan to stay at a central location in Prague to explore its major highlights, but also head over to the newer areas for dining, and a unique art scene (like the Dancing House, or even to check out run-down houses from the Communist era).
Prague is a city that’s rich in history and culture. It’s also one of the most affordable cities in Europe, making it a great destination for budget travelers.
Read: Perfect Central Europe itinerary with Prague, Vienna, and Budapest
Rome, the capital of Italy, is a renowned city for its art, culture, and cuisine.
As one of the oldest cities in Europe, it’s no surprise that Rome is home to some of the world’s most famous historical landmarks. The Colosseum, Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, and Spanish Steps are just a few of the must-see sights and photo spots in Rome.
Beyond its historical landmarks, Rome is also a city full of life. The Trastevere district is popular among tourists and locals alike for its lively nightlife and charming cobblestone streets. You must add sightseeing time in various neighborhoods into your Rome itinerary.
No trip to Italy would be complete without indulging in some of the world’s best pasta and pizza. Visitors can find these traditional dishes almost anywhere in Rome.
With so much to see and do, it’s no wonder Rome is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe!
Read: How to explore Rome in a day | 7 day Italy itinerary | Italy travel guide
As the capital of England and the United Kingdom, London is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. The city is home to world-renowned museums, art galleries, and historic landmarks (and many of the museums are free to visit).
Museums that we recommend including in your London itinerary are – Natural History Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, Imperial War Museums, and Churchill War Rooms (paid).
Some of the most popular attractions include Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, the Tower of London, the Palace of Westminister, and Westminster Abbey.
In addition to its famous sights, London is a lively and cosmopolitan city with a thriving food and nightlife scene. You can soak in city views from The Shard, London Eye, or enjoy a soothing river cruise and an afternoon tea experience.
Whether you’re interested in exploring the city’s rich history or just want to enjoy its modern amenities, London is sure to have something for you.
London is a major global city and one of the world’s most important financial centres, and home to many shopping areas (so don’t leave your wallet at home)!
Read: London bucket list experiences
If you’re looking for a city in Europe that will take your breath away, look no further than Dubrovnik. This Croatian seaside town is world-famous for its medieval walled city that sits atop cliffs overlooking the Adriatic Sea.
The Old Town of Dubrovnik is one of the most beautiful places in Europe and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Inside the city walls, you’ll find a maze of narrow streets and alleyways lined with cafes, bars, and shops. Be sure to walk along the famous Stradun Street, which is considered one of the most beautiful streets in the world.
No visit to Dubrovnik is complete without taking a cable car or hiking up to Mount Srđ for stunning views of the city below.
Or just opt for a funicular ride like we did!
Whether you’re strolling along the ancient city walls or relaxing on one of Dubrovnik’s many beaches, it’s easy to see why this city is one of the most beautiful in Europe.
Read: 3 days in Dubrovnik itinerary | Day trips from Dubrovnik | Croatia itinerary 7 days
Barcelona, the capital of Spain’s Catalonia region, is one of the most beautiful and vibrant cities in Europe.
The city is home to world-renowned architecture, including the work of Antoni Gaudí. Park Güell, Casa Milà, and La Sagrada Familia are just a few of his must-see masterpieces.
Barcelona is also a beach city, with miles of coastline along the Mediterranean Sea. The Barceloneta is the most popular beach, but there are many others to explore as well.
In addition to its famous attractions, Barcelona is known for its lively nightlife and delicious food. Tapas bars and restaurants can be found on almost every corner.
We recommend packing a pair of comfy shoes and light clothing to enjoy walking tours of the Gothic quarter, Bunkers del Carmel, and the Camp Nou areas.
Whether you’re looking to explore the city’s rich history or just soak up the Mediterranean sun, Barcelona is sure to please. Just ensure you pack light, and stay cautious in all sightseeing locations as Barcelona is notorious for pickpocketers!
Read: How to spend 2 days in Barcelona | Best views in Barcelona | One week in Spain itinerary | Most beautiful places in Spain
Zurich, the largest city in Switzerland, is located in the heart of the Alps.
This picturesque city is known for its clean streets, world-class shopping, and stunning mountain views. There are plenty of things to do in Zurich, whether you’re interested in exploring the city’s many museums and art galleries or enjoying the great outdoors.
If you’re a fan of skiing or hiking, you’ll be spoilt for choice with the nearby Alps – all located within a day trip’s itinerary from Zurich. And if you want to experience some of Zurich’s nightlife, there are plenty of bars and clubs to keep you entertained.
When in Zurich, you must visit Bahnhofstrasse, which is the city’s main downtown street and also the world’s most expensive avenue.
Hike up to Lindenhof, a small hill in the old town, for amazing views of the city and the river. Or take a dip in Lake Zurich, which is clean enough to drink!
There are many churches in Zurich, one of them is the Fraunmunster, which is home to beautiful stained glass windows by Marc Chagall.
No visit to Zurich is complete without taking a walk along the Limmat River and if you’re looking for a break from the city, take a short train ride to one of Zurich’s many nearby lakes. The Zürichsee and Wädenswil lakes are both popular tourist destinations in and around Zurich and offer stunning views of the Swiss Alps.
With its mountain setting and cosmopolitan atmosphere, Zurich is a city that has something for everyone.
Read: 2 days in Zurich itinerary | Where to stay in Zurich | 5 days in Switzerland itinerary
Vienna, the capital of Austria, is a city steeped in history and culture. It was once the center of the powerful Habsburg Empire and today it remains one of the most influential cities in Europe.
The city is home to many iconic landmarks, including the Hofburg Palace, Belvedere Palace, and Schönbrunn Palace.
Vienna is also known for its grandiose Opera House and the Spanish Riding School, where world-famous Lipizzaner horses perform daily.
In addition to its palaces and museums, Vienna is also a city of music. It is the home of Beethoven, Strauss, and Mahler. Today, the city is home to the Vienna Philharmonic and the Vienna State Opera.
Whether you’re interested in its imperial past or its musical present, Vienna is sure to delight. The food in Vienna and their cafes are also amazing!
Read: Most beautiful places in Austria | 2 days in Vienna itinerary | How to spend one day in Vienna
Sarajevo, Bosnia, and Herzegovina
Sarajevo has a long and complex history, after having been under the rule of the Ottoman Empire, Austria-Hungary, Yugoslavia, and now as the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
This mix of cultures is evident in the city’s architecture, food, and even its people.
Sarajevo is a compact city that is easy to explore on foot. Stroll through the Old Town and admire the beautiful Turkish-style buildings.
Be sure to visit Baščaršija, the old Ottoman marketplace that is now one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city.
No visit to Sarajevo is complete without paying respects to Vjećnica, the city’s beautiful former town hall that was destroyed in the Bosnian War.
Do take the time to join a guided tour of the Tunnels and the abandoned bobsleigh in Olympics Park, which you can explore on a one day Sarajevo itinerary.
Read: Most beautiful places in Bosnia and Herzegovina | Balkan Itinerary 2 weeks
Ljubljana is one of the prettiest cities in Europe. It’s the capital city of Slovenia, and its old town is full of Baroque architecture and picturesque bridges.
The Ljubljanica River winds through the city center and is lined with outdoor cafes and restaurants. The perfect place to enjoy a coffee or a meal while you people watch.
One of the must-visit places in the city is Ljubljana Castle. It has museums (including a puppet museum), cafes, and historical exhibits from medieval and modern times that are worth exploring on a one day Ljubljana trip!
Ljubljana is also home to many green spaces, including Tivoli Park and Jakovica Forest. If you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, these are the perfect places to do so.
Whether you’re interested in exploring its history, relaxing in its parks, or simply enjoying the cafes and restaurants, Ljubljana is a must-see city in Europe. It is also the perfect base to explore more of Slovenia, including Lake Bled!
Read: Most beautiful places in Slovenia | Slovenia itinerary 7 days
Munich, the capital of Bavaria, is one of Germany’s most beautiful and popular cities.
The city is home to world-class museums, including the Bavarian National Museum and the Deutsches Museum.
Munich is also known for its grandiose architecture, including the neo-Gothic Frauenkirche and the baroque-style Royal Palace or the Munich Residenz.
When in Munich for a day, you must explore Marienplatz and beer gardens. There are many in the city, including one at the English Gardens. Oktoberfest, the world’s largest beer festival is held in Munich every year, and it brings in a lot of tourists.
If you are planning to visit a lot of places in Bavaria like Dachau and the iconic Neuschwanstein Castle, consider keeping Munich as your base city. Get inspiration from our 5 day Munich itinerary.
So whether you’re looking to drink Bavaria’s finest beer or explore its rich history Munich is one of the must see European cities!
Read: Best places to visit in Germany in winter
The city of Salzburg, in western Austria, borders Germany and the Eastern Alps. It’s one of Europe’s most beautiful cities.
Salzburg is the “capital of music,” as it was the birthplace of Mozart. Appropriately, it also served as the backdrop for the 1960s film The Sound of Music. Today you can join guided tours that share the main magical moments from the movie!
The UNESCO World Heritage Site Old Town of Salzburg, also known as the Altstadt, is a wonderfully preserved classical Austria icon.
The Hohensalzburg Fortress, Mirabell Palace, and Salzburg Cathedral are among the notable attractions here. Needless to say, adding Salzburg to your Austria itinerary is a must!
Read: How to spend 2 days in Salzburg itinerary
Similar to Vienna, Budapest is also located along the Danube River. It’s often called the “Paris of the East” because of its grandiose buildings and romantic atmosphere.
In addition to its beauty, Budapest is renowned for its abundant hot springs. The city has over 120 baths, making it the perfect place to relax and rejuvenate. Széchenyi is a popular spa in Budapest and something that you shouldn’t miss!
Some of its most popular attractions include Gellért Hill, Fisherman’s Bastion, and Margaret Island. And of course, the stunning Hungarian Parliament is not to be missed on your 2 day Budapest itinerary!
Whether you’re looking to explore Hungary’s rich history or take a dip in its healing waters, Budapest is sure to enchant you.
One of our fond memories from Budapest was an evening/dinner sightseeing cruise on the river Danube, and we highly recommend this experience!
Read: Most beautiful cities in Hungary | Prague Budapest and Vienna itinerary 10 days
Florence, the capital of Tuscany, is one of the most beautiful cities in Italy. It’s also home to some of the world’s most famous art and architecture.
The Duomo, or the cathedral of Florence, is a sight to behold. The magnificent church is one of the largest in the world and its dome is the tallest brick structure ever built.
Florence is also home to many other iconic sights, such as the Ponte Vecchio, Uffizi Gallery, and Palazzo Pitti.
No trip to Florence would be complete without a stroll through the Boboli Gardens. The massive gardens are located behind the Palazzo Pitti and offer breathtaking views of the city.
Speaking of views, Piazzale Michangelo should not be missed.
Don’t let museums and historical sites make you re-think a visit to the city, because there are tons of things to do in Florence at night from epic bars, shopping to sunset tours!
Read: 2 days in Florence itinerary | 3 days in Florence itinerary | Best rooftop hotels in Florence
The capital of Scotland, Edinburgh, is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. This historic city is home to a number of world-famous landmarks, such as Edinburgh Castle, the Royal Mile, and Holyrood Palace.
Beyond its main attractions, Edinburgh is also a great place to enjoy the outdoors. The city has many parks and gardens, perfect for a summer picnic or walk. Popular spots include Princes Street, Holyrood Park, and Arthur’s Seat.
Edinburgh is also known for its lively nightlife, with a number of bars and clubs to keep you entertained into the early hours. Whether you’re visiting for its history, culture, or nightlife, Edinburgh is sure to impress!
The city of Istanbul transcends Europe and Asia, making it one of the most interesting places to visit on the planet. Although it’s technically located in Asia (97% of the territory), Istanbul has been a melting pot of cultures for centuries.
As a result, the city is home to an array of incredible architecture, from the Blue Mosque to the Hagia Sophia.
Istanbul is also known for its vibrant food scene. Be sure to try some of the local specialties like Turkish coffee and kebabs.
And no visit to Istanbul would be complete without taking a ride on a traditional Ottoman boat down the Bosphorus Strait. This city is a must-see for any traveler looking to experience the best of East and West.
Seville, the capital of Andalusia in southern Spain, is one of the prettiest European cities. The historic city is rich in culture and is known for its flamenco music and dance, as well as its Moorish influences from the Al-Andalus period.
Seville’s Old Town or the city center, including the Alcázar palace and the Seville Cathedral, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The city is also home to many parks and gardens, such as the Parque de María Luisa and the Jardines de Murillo.
Plaza de Espanya is one of the most popular tourist destinations and a must do things to do in Seville. The plaza was built in 1928 for the Ibero-American Exhibition and it is a beautiful example of Neo-Mudéjar architecture.
In addition to its historical and cultural significance, Seville is also renowned for its delicious food. Be sure to try some of the city’s famous tapas dishes while you’re here!
Read: Best tapas in Seville to try out | Day trips from Seville Spain
Luxembourg City, Luxembourg
Luxembourg City, the capital of Luxembourg, is a beautiful and scenic city located in the heart of Europe. The city is situated on a cliff overlooking the Pétrusse Valley and the Alzette river.
Luxembourg City has a rich history dating back to the 10th century. It was once an important fortress for the Holy Roman Empire and later became a key strategic location in both World Wars.
Today, Luxembourg City is a major financial center and home to many international organizations, such as the European Court of Justice and the European Investment Bank.
The city is also a popular tourist destination, known for its medieval old town, picturesque views, and grand public squares.
Some of the city’s most popular attractions include the Grand Ducal Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral, and the Bock Casemates.
You can add a trip to Luxembourg from Brussels (by road). If you have additional time on your hands, you can explore the outskirts of the city – which is sprinkled with castles and hiking trails.
Read: One day in Luxembourg itinerary | Interesting facts about Luxembourg
The Serbian capital of Belgrade has a long and eventful history. It was the site of the prehistoric Starčevo and Vinča cultures and later became an important stronghold for the Celts, Romans, Byzantines, Slavs, and Ottomans.
In recent years, Belgrade has been resurgent. Its lively nightlife is legendary, and there are many great restaurants and cafes.
The city’s museums and art galleries are also worth a visit. Surprisingly, it is also one of the affordable cities, with an open tourist visa!
In Belgrade, you must explore its popular tourist attractions like the Kalemegdan Park, Skadarlija (Bohemian Quarter), Nikola Tesla Museum, Saint Sava Temple, and Tito’s Mausoleum.
We recommend opting for a walking tour of Belgrade to learn about the city’s past – of Cold War and beyond. The Museum of Yugoslavia is also worth visiting.
Belgrade, like many others on this list of beautiful European cities, lies at the confluence of rivers – Sava and Danube.
The second-largest city in Portugal, Porto is a beautiful coastal town located in the north of the country. The city is known for its port wine production and its picturesque setting along the Douro River.
Porto’s Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it is easy to see why. The streets are lined with colorful buildings, and the views of the river and bridge are simply breathtaking.
In addition to its stunning architecture, Porto is also home to many great museums, restaurants, and cafes.
Be sure to visit the Clérigos Tower, Livraria Lello, and the Casa da Música. And of course the iconic Dom Luís I Bridge is hard to miss (visit during sunset for epic views!)
If you’re looking for a unique and beautiful city to explore, Porto is definitely worth a visit. Do add a day trip to the Duoro wine valley, or explore one of the wineries to try out Port wine!
Read: How to spend 8 days in Portugal itinerary
As the capital of Croatia, Zagreb is a vibrant and cosmopolitan city with a lot to offer visitors. The city has a rich history and culture, and it is home to many museums, art galleries, and theaters.
Zagreb’s Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it is easy to see why. The streets are lined with beautiful baroque buildings and the city has a lively and inviting atmosphere.
In addition to its historical landmarks, Zagreb is also home to many great restaurants, cafes, and bars. Be sure to visit the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Croatian National Theater, and the Zagreb Zoo.
Whether you’re interested in history, culture, or just good food and drink, Zagreb is a great city to explore. The city is compact and can be easily explored on foot.
Read: One day in Zagreb itinerary | Is Zagreb worth visiting | Where to stay in Zagreb
The capital city of the Republic of Ireland, Dublin is a beautiful and friendly city located on the east coast. The city is rich in history and culture and has something to offer everyone.
The River Liffey divides the city into north and south sides. On the north side, you will find pretty Georgian houses with colorful doors. It is a lovely area to wander and explore the historical sites such as the General Post Office and check out the tall statues along the boulevard.
Some of the city’s most popular tourist attractions include St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the Guinness Storehouse, and Trinity College.
Whether you’re looking to explore its medieval castles or take a tour of its many breweries, Dublin is sure to please. Oh, and don’t forget to stop by the Temple Bar, and try delicious Irish stew!
Dublin is also a great city for shopping, with many high-end stores and quaint Irish markets. And no visit to Dublin would be complete without trying a pint of local beer!
The capital of Belgium, Brussels, is located in the heart of Europe. The city is known for its international atmosphere and for being the home of many European institutions, such as the European Union and NATO.
In addition to its political importance, Brussels is also a cultural center with many museums and art galleries. The Musée des Beaux-Arts is one of the most popular museums in the city, and it houses a collection of works by Belgian artists as well as international masters.
The Grand Place is the main square in Brussels, and it is considered to be one of the most beautiful squares in Europe.
The square is surrounded by guildhalls and the Brussels City Hall, and it is a popular gathering place for locals and tourists alike. This is definitely a must-add to your one day in Brussels itinerary.
We recommend staying at the center for a short trip, and this will also allow you to explore spots such as the Royal Gallery of Saint Hubert (one of the prettiest shopping arcades), Royal Palace, and St Michael and St Gudula Cathedral nearby.
There are also many attractions that are located outside the center like the iconic Atomium, Parc du Cinquantenaire, Mini Europe, AutoWorld, and Horta Museum. You can visit these places via public transportation or hop-on-hop-off bus tour.
TinTin lovers will enjoy time at the comic strip and museum.
Other than these attractions, be sure to try some of Brussels’ famous chocolate and beer while you’re in town! Or join a chocolate-making workshop!
Read: Belgium itinerary | 2 days in Brussels itinerary | Interesting facts about Belgium
Located in the heart of Switzerland, Lucerne is a beautiful city on the shores of Lake Lucerne. The city is renowned for its picturesque setting, with the Alps visible in the distance.
Lucerne is compact and can be explored in a few days. We recommend at least 2 full in Lucerne or longer where you can keep this Swiss city as a base and then explore more of the mountains nearby.
The colorful Altstadt or the Old Town of Lucerne is a must-seeThe old town is also worth exploring, with its medieval bridge and quaint shops.
Some of the city’s most popular attractions include the Chapel Bridge, the Lion Monument, and the Swiss Transport Museum.
Lucerne is also a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, with many hiking and skiing trails in the area. Whether you’re looking to explore Switzerland’s natural beauty or learn about its rich history, Lucerne is a great destination.
Read: 2 days in Switzerland itinerary | Planning a trip to Switzerland
Located on the coast of Denmark, Copenhagen is a lively and vibrant city that is also one of the cleanest and safest in the world.
As the capital of Denmark, Copenhagen is a popular tourist destination for its many historic landmarks and museums; and a lively culture that is evident in its architecture and its vibrant way of life.
When in Copenhagen visit the castle of Amalienborg which is the home of the Danish royal family. Or take a stroll through Tivoli Gardens, one of the oldest amusement parks in the world that is perfect for a day of fun.
And don’t forget to try the famous Danish food like Smørrebrød and pastries.
Copenhagen is a city that should be on everyone’s travel list. So whether you’re looking for a relaxing vacation or an action-packed adventure, Copenhagen is the perfect destination.
Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, is a beautiful and historic city located at the base of Mount Vitosha. The city has a long and rich history dating back to the 8th century BC.
Today, Sofia is a vibrant and modern metropolis with a lively nightlife scene and many great restaurants. English is widely spoken, and being the capital city, Sofia is a safe destination that you can surely explore as a solo traveler.
Some of the city’s most popular tourist attractions include the National Opera and Ballet of Bulgaria, the National Palace of Culture, the National Archaeological Museum, and the Serdica Amphitheatre – all full of cultural treasures.
Sofia is also a great place to shop for traditional Bulgarian souvenirs such as rose oil cosmetics, hand-painted ceramics, and locally-made wines.
Whether you’re interested in exploring Sofia’s rich history or enjoying its modern amenities, the city is sure to charm you.
Stockholm, the capital of Sweden, is located on 14 islands in Lake Mälaren. The city is known for its beautiful architecture, clean streets, and picturesque setting.
The city’s charming cobblestone lanes and colorful buildings make it an amazing weekend city break option in Europe.
Stockholm’s most popular tourist attractions include Gamla stan (the old town), the Vasa Museum, Nobel Museum, ABBA Museum, and the open-air Skansen Museum.
The city is also home to many parks and green spaces, such as the Royal National City Park aka the world-famous Djurgården park. Plus the Kungliga Slottet Royal Palace and the many bridges on the Baltic Sea archipelago are worth seeing (or crossing over).
Stockholm is a lively and vibrant city with a great nightlife scene. Be sure to check out the popular Södermalm district for its cool bars and nightclubs.
Reykjavik, Iceland isn’t like any European city, but it is still an unbelievable place to explore – and one that is surrounded by natural beauty. Iceland is known for its stunning waterfalls and volcanoes, and its capital city makes for a great base to explore more of the country!
As soon as you step into the city’s core its vibrancy will inspire you – from the coolest restaurants to world-class hotels, Reykjavik is just mesmerizing!
When in the city, do pay a visit to the tallest church in Iceland – Hallgrímskirkja, and soak in the panoramic views from the tower.
Reykjavik is brimming with art and culture in a way that invokes curiosity in visitors. Its streets are lined with colorful houses, and there are many sculptures and public art pieces to admire.
The city is also home to several museums, including the National Museum of Iceland and quirky Icelandic Phallological Museum, as well as a number of theaters and concert halls. Do add 1-2 museums to your one day in Reykjavik itinerary.
Reykjavik is also a great place to enjoy the outdoors. There are many parks and green spaces to explore, as well as hiking and biking trails nearby.
And of course, no trip to Reykjavik would be complete without a visit to one of its many geothermal pools like the Sky Lagoon (located 15 minutes from the city or swimming pools nearby)!
Read: 3 days in Iceland itinerary | Free and cheap things to do in Reykjavik
Okay, this list is in no particular order. Now Athens, the capital city of Greece is one of the most beautiful and historic cities in Europe. It’s known for its Acropolis, which is an ancient citadel that sits atop a hill in the city center.
This is a must-visit for all history lovers – there is so much to see, learn and absorb in Athens! It was the seat of the Greek Classical civilization and is home to many sites and ideas that led to the birth of Western civilization.
So you must explore the Acropolis, Roman temples like the Parthenon, Temple of Olympian Zeus, Hadrian’s Library, and many others.
There are many museums, including the Acropolis Museum, as well as theaters, concert halls, and other cultural venues.
Not into history and culture? Well, Athens is more than just an ancient city. It’s also a modern metropolis with plenty to offer. The nightlife in Athens is also very vibrant, with plenty of bars and clubs to keep you entertained.
And of course, no trip to Athens is complete without outdoorsy activities. You can go hiking, biking, and climbing in and around the city – don’t forget to carry a pair of comfortable walking (or hiking) shoes, you will also need them for sightseeing tours!
Riga in Latvia is one of the most beautiful and charming cities in Europe. It’s known for its Art Nouveau architecture, which is typical of the city’s style and history.
But Riga is also a modern city that offers many things to do and see. There are plenty of museums, including the Latvian National Museum of Art, as well as theaters, concert halls, and other cultural venues to enjoy.
The Daugava River passes through the city, and it has been an important trade corridor for centuries. The UNESCO-listed city center is a must-see in Riga, and this is where all the fun happens in the Christmas season.
If you love wandering through cute lanes like us, you must head to the Miera Iela, or “Peace Street,” which is the bohemian quarter of Riga, and it is home to galleries, cafes, and shops filled with vintage finds.
And of course, no trip to Riga would be complete without taking a stroll through its many parks and green spaces. Or, for a more relaxing trip embark on a boat tour along the canal and Daugava River to soak in the finest city views!
Tallinn, Estonia is one of the most beautiful and well-preserved medieval cities in Europe. Its old town is a UNESCO World Heritage site and it’s full of cobbled streets, quaint houses, and hidden courtyards.
The beauty of Tallinn lies in its fairy-tale-like setting. It’s a city that feels like it’s out of a storybook. This is one city that comes alive during the Christmas season in Europe.
Visit the St Nicholas Chruch, check out Kiek in de Kök defensive tower, and the Town Hall Square. Or go on a walking tour of the old town to really appreciate the beauty of this city.
Tallinn is home to many cute cafes, shops, and museums. This city is a popular tourist spot and English is widely spoken too.
If you’re looking for a charming and unique European city, Tallinn is definitely worth a visit.
Tirana, Albania is a hidden gem in Europe. It may not have the most iconic landmarks or picturesque scenery of other cities on this list, but it makes up for it, with its vibrant culture and colorful architecture (and mild weather)!
The beauty of Tirana lies in its cultural vibes, and charming little streets.
Visit Skanderbeg Square, Et’hem Bey Mosque, and the National History Museum to learn about the rich history and culture of Albania – particularly of the struggles in the 1990s.
When you are not exploring museums, you can just wander around the city and enjoy the lively atmosphere.
Being the capital city, Tirana is very safe to visit. Keeping the city as a base you can also head to places like Kruja and Sari Salltik.
To get to Tirana make it a part of your overall Balkans road trip itinerary. You can also book private transfers from nearby countries to explore Albania and its capital city.
Read: Balkan tour packages
Europe Travel Tips for first time travelers
Start your Europe exploration with these handy guides
- Europe 101 – Our introductory guide to planning a trip to Europe
- Europe Bucket list – Epic 101 Europe travel bucket list ideas
- Europe Itinerary Samples – Want to make the most of your visit to Europe? This is the ultimate 27 itinerary samples to plan your sightseeing in one or multiple destinations in Europe.
- Guide to Schengen Visa – read the guide and checklist here.
- Europe Packing Guide – This is the only packing guide to Europe you will ever need. It has references to seasons and regional variations.
Must pack items for Europe,
- Universal adaptor: Europe uses round power pins, so carry a universal adapter. Here is what we have
- Anti-theft backpack: Because we travel in trains, and use other means of public transportation, we recommend carrying an anti-theft backpack (or a daypack). We use the same backpack as a carryon (and – I carry 4-5 dresses, 4 blouses, 2 light jackets, and a small cosmetics bag)
- Comfortable walking shoes: Walking shoes are a must for all of your Europe trips. You will end up walking/wandering/strolling quite a bit (in old towns, transiting through transport, neighborhoods, etc). Many old towns are also carefree, and pedestrian-friendly – so lace up!
- Lightweight waterproof jacket: Highly recommend carrying a lightweight waterproof jacket, as in most popular destinations (especially in western Europe) gloomy, rainy days are common.
So there you have it, the 35+ most beautiful cities in Europe. From well-known destinations to hidden gems, there’s something for everyone on this list. So start planning your next European vacation and be sure to add some (or all!) to your next itinerary!
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