If you are wondering what are the most beautiful cities in Europe, surprisingly it is a more common question than you think.
It may not be huge in size, both this continent boasts some of the most enchanting snow-capped mountain ranges, cities with some of the oldest and richest history and architectural wonders, spectacular coastal towns, incredibly beautiful islands, hiking trails, party towns, many UNESCO world heritage sites, landmarks and more.
On my first visit, I backpacked in Europe for about 3 months alone, visiting 19 countries, and it remains one of the most memorable travel experiences for me and taken multiple short trips after.
It is no surprise that the beautiful European cities beckon hundreds of thousands of travellers with dream eyes that get captivated with their magical aura.
From Copenhagen to Seville and from Lisbon to Moscow, you are sure to experience many jaw-dropping moments when you are in Europe.
Be ready to be get transported back in time on the pretty cobbled alleyways, medieval monuments, pizza, paella, pierogi, wine, mountains, markets and beach towns – You may even be strongly tempted to move here!
If you are looking for the best cities in Europe to add to your bucket list, you’ve come to the right place. This is my ultimate list of the most beautiful cities in Europe.
MOST BEAUTIFUL CITIES IN EUROPE
Let’s begin with the famous picks for the most beautiful cities in Europe. These cities practically need no introduction, and each of them receives millions of tourists per year, making some of them the most visited cities in the world.
While many European cities are known for their high prices, there are many exceptions to this. One of them is Budapest, the Hungarian capital which is clearly one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.
If you are looking for typical European experiences but at far cheaper rates, then you should visit Budapest. But the cost is the dominant factor at all because there are plenty of things to do in the city for everyone.
How about fairytale castles, medieval thermal baths, spectacular views of the city, gorgeous ancient bridges, iconic landmarks with stunning architecture, excellent ruin bars and delicious cuisines sound?
Well, if you are nodding your head at any of these, pick Budapest right away without a doubt.
You just need a weekend in Budapest to explore the highlights, including a guided tour of the city’s attractions like the Hungarian Parliament, the Buda Castle and the Fisherman’s Bastion
Hike to the top of Gellért Hill, one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites in the city to enjoy bird views of the sunset.
And the other evening, walk along the Danube or join a romantic evening cruise to take in the spectacle of the city as the lights go up.
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PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC
Another city favoured by budget travellers and people wanting to experience splendid nightlife is the city of Prague, the stunning capital of the Czech Republic.
Consistently voted one of the most beautiful cities in the world explains its popularity, but you can’t deny its enchanting beauty that captures your complete attention throughout your time in the city.
One of the prettiest places in Europe, Prague is where you should go to experience the historical centre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the magnificent Charles Bridge, the stunning Prague Castle, the cathedrals, museums and beautiful hill-top views.
You cannot miss the effortless, elegant blend of various types of architecture from gothic to baroque.
Visit the historical castle, know about the Jews on a tour, rent one of the antique cars to explore the city.
Not many know that beer in Prague is one of the best in the world! Taste the best beer on this guided tour by a local or if you are a foodie, don’t miss trying out the best Prague food on this walking tour.
Norway is one of my favorite countries in Europe, and if you want to experience the fairytale, picture-perfect parts of the continent, you should add Bergen to your bucket list.
Bergen is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe no matter what season you visit.
Stroll through the streets along the coast, walking past the ancient harbour, and the colourful buildings lining the streets of Bryggen market.
Hike to the top of Mount Floyen or better, take a cable car ride that offers you fascinating panoramic views of the city as you slowly get to the top.
Watching the sunset from the top of Mount Floyen is one of the best European bucket list experiences.
Bruges is considered to be the most beautiful city in Europe, beating the likes of Paris or Rome. And I agree with this fact wholeheartedly.
Exploring Bruges is like being in that part of Europe during the 17th-18th centuries – replete with medieval stone and wooden buildings lining the alleys, old lanterns and pretty flowers adorning the patio of homes.
At every corner, you will be trying hard to take in all the beauty served at once as you walk past the perfect-looking streets which all culminate at the heart of the old town.
Be prepared to be enthralled by more of the ethereal charm of the city as you stroll past the canals, medieval monuments and pretty cafes.
What makes Bruges special is that the post-card perfect atmosphere of ancient times has been maintained intact.
Oh, and you cannot come back from Belgium without indulging in chocolates, waffles, beer or Belgian fries – So hop on to this tour of chocolate workshop or waffles workshop, highly recommended to make the most of your time in this fairytale city.
A city that time and again makes it to the list of most beautiful cities in Europe is Rome – the eternal city. The capital city of Italy is one of the oldest cities in the world – the home of the magnificent Rome empire.
You will fall in love with the city hard if you are a history lover.
While the giant Colosseum – one of the new seven wonders of the world takes the credit for all the popularity of this city, there are tons of things to do in Rome beyond this monument.
The city is home to over 800 medieval fountains with the most popular being the Trevi fountain – best explored through this guided fountain tour.
Checking out the city ruins dating back to over 2500 years after a tour of the Colosseum, meandering through the winding cobbled streets, hanging out the iconic Spanish Steps, Pantheon and other attractions will keep you occupied for a few days at least.
I’d highly recommend taking a day trip to the smallest country and Rome’s neighbour – The Vatican city for its stunning St. Peter’s Basilica and castles.
Of course, when in Italy you shouldn’t even think twice to indulge in the best pizza, coffee, gelato and pasta!
MORE ABOUT ROME
Probably among the top names that come up one thinks of the most beautiful cities in Europe is Paris – the city of lights, a city that besots its visitors with dreamy bridges, cruises, mammoth museums, cathedrals, fashion, and of course, the iconic landmark – The Eiffel Tower.
Everyone can find something in Paris – and that’s why it is one of the best cities in Europe that’s immensely popular.
Whether you are into museums, history, architectural landmarks, literature, art, fashion, shopping, nightlife, perfect-looking streets, beautiful Instagram spots or quiet sunrises and sunsets – You can find all of these here.
Not to forget the possibility of enjoying the beauty of the city sitting at one of the pretty cafes tasting wine, cheese and baguette – there are simply endless options.
And most likely, you will leave a piece of your heart behind in this gorgeous city as you take a food tour or a cruise to soak in the evening views in Paris.
AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS
One of my favourite European cities is Amsterdam, the colourful Dutch capital city. Dotted with vibrant little houses on either side of the canals connected by cute bridges and bicycles – Amsterdam is truly one of the most beautiful cities in Europe you should add to your itinerary especially if you travelling for the first time.
Nicknamed the Venice of the North, you can easily get lost checking out the adorable buildings and canals.
Whether you want to get high at one of the famous coffee shops selling weed in the city or get your high through the attractions, it is worth visiting at least 2 days in Amsterdam if not more.
Visit during spring for amazing weather and also during this time, you can take a tour to the stunning Tulips field.
Sign up for a canal cruise to admire stunning views of the city. Art lovers and history enthusiasts should definitely visit the renowned Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum and Anne Frank House. Rent a bike and navigate the roads feeling the European things.
And of course, check out how Amsterdam becomes the sin city at night by exploring the Red Light District and don’t forget to taste finger fries topped with Mayonnaise.
Regarded as one of the most beautiful cities in the world, the birthplace of the Renaissance, the city of Florence is one of the gems in Italy’s Tuscany region that should be on your itinerary of Europe
You will instantly fall in love with one of the most enchanting cities in Europe as you explore Florence. Whether you got 24 hours or a few days, you can’t miss adding this city.
Imagine walking through narrow cobbled paths and stumbling upon intricately designed medieval pieces of art, gorgeous marble cathedrals, gas lanterns and views of wonderful buildings at every turn and getting lost in time in another world – That is a slice of Florence for you.
After checking out the stunning Duomo cathedral, the Renaissance works in the Uffizi Gallery and other museums, and the iconic Ponte Vecchio, reach the other side of the old town for panoramic views from the hilltop or explore the many art galleries, libraries and parks.
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Among the most romantic cities in Europe is Venice, the city of Gondolas and canals. While it is undeniably one of the most beautiful cities of Europe, it is also among the world’s most unique places – a city that is connected through no roads, but boats, bridges and canals.
For experiencing the best of the city, I’d highly recommend the off-season as the peak months mean a lot of crowds thronging the cobbled streets and foot-walks.
Some people hate it for all things touristy, which is partly true, but you cannot help falling in love with the city’s beauty.
And that’s what happened to me even though I am certainly not a fan of crowded destinations.
This lovely city is home to over a hundred bridges connecting smaller islands, and the best way to navigate and admire the rugged, colourful buildings is to take a ride on the gondolas or water taxis.
Venice is also very compact and you can cover the city’s attractions on foot, including the central landmark the St. Mark’s Square dominated by the Basilica.
If you want to visit a city that speaks of grandeur, opulence and elegance, it has to be Vienna, the capital city of Austria.
It is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe known for its rich history and the centre of medieval politics and music.
Magnificent Palaces, gardens, old town squares, markets and museums will keep you busy whether you have 2 or 3 days in Vienna or more.
I was here during the Christmas and I’d highly recommend adding the city on your winter Europe itinerary.
You will be swept away by the winter wonderland it transforms into and becomes the centre of festivities evident in the beautiful Austria Christmas markets.
Get to know the life and the history of the royal family of Habsburg on a tour of the Schönbrunn Palace. Enjoy the best classical performances in the stunning Vienna State Opera.
Take a walking tour to get to know the landmarks including the cathedral, Jewish synagogue, the places where Mozart and Beethoven composed the master-piece music. You can even enjoy one of the concerts in Vienna.
MOST BEAUTIFUL CITIES IN EUROPE – UNDERRATED
The next on this list of the most beautiful cities of Europe are those that have grown in popularity exponentially over the last few years from initially being underrated destinations – thanks to more and more discovering the beauty, culture and experiences offered by them.
The most visited city in Spain and one of the most popular cities in Europe is the beloved Barcelona – the vibrant capital of Catalonia most famous for the gorgeous La Sagrada Familia Cathedral and other masterpieces of the brilliant architect Antonio Gaudi.
Barcelona is the city to visit in Europe if you are looking for a splendid city that also boasts of a coastline as wells as mountains – Yes you get both here.
Whether you are interested in checking out all of Gaudi’s creations on a guided tour or want some awesome photo spots and viewpoints to witness gorgeous sunset or if you want to get a taste of local food, Barcelona should be on your Europe bucket list for sure.
Stroll along with the bustling Las Ramblas shopping for some cute souvenirs, tasting local food or simply revelling in the atmosphere. Walk amidst the narrow cobbled streets to arrive at the majestic Gothic quarter.
Enjoy a day exploring the beautiful Montjuïc Hill dotted with landmarks, pretty plaza and a castle. Fill your belly and eat to your heart’s content at the food market tour of La Boqueria.
And Gear up for the lively nightlife in the bars at night. – Whether you have just a day or 3 days in Barcelona, you should definitely not miss this city when you are in Europe.
One of the stunning European cities that has been getting growing admirers is the Pearl of the Adriatic, Dubrovnik.
Sitting on the shores of the Adriatic sea, Dubrovnik is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, which became popular as one of the filming locations of the Game of Thrones series.
Whether you are a fan of the TV show or you haven’t watched an episode, you should visit this gorgeous city at least once. Its earliest history dates back to the 11th century, and the city is most famous for its mammoth walled old city which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Strolling through these walls on limestone streets is stepping away in time as you walk past some magnificent landmarks.
Enjoy a walk on the walls of Dubrovnik, take a quick Kayak tour to the splendid Lokrum, which is just outside the walls.
Of course, if you are into the TV show, you should definitely go on the Game of Thrones walking tour to visit all the shooting locations.
The most visited city in Poland is Krakow, which is one of the prettiest cities in Europe. If you are looking for a gorgeous medieval atmosphere, castles, pretty souvenirs, delicious local cuisine and excellent museums, then you should check out Krakow.
The old square in Krakow is the largest in Europe. Take a tour of the city to learn about its past. Shop in the cloth hall, one of the oldest medieval markets in Europe and eat the best Pierogi or Polish dumplings topping it with their vodka specialities.
Whether you are travelling in the chilly winters or the colourful spring or Autumn, you cannot escape the magic of this city sitting on the Baltic shores.
Home to the UNESCO heritage site and the most well-preserved historic square, Tallinn is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe that looks straight out of a fairytale.
The ultra-modern city and the old warm charm are perfectly juxta-positioned, with a high stone fortress standing as the gateway between the two worlds.
Take in the enigma as you step into the medieval world, walking past the cobbled streets dotted with meticulously preserved Renaissance-style buildings.
Enjoy the gorgeous bird views of the colourful rooftops and domes from the hills or get lost in the charm of the Toompea Castle.
And don’t forget to meet the ghosts of Tallinn on this guided ghost tour – Yes, no matter your beliefs in the spirits, this is one of the most fun tours you should sign up for while in Tallinn.
If you want to veer from the typical aspects of European cities, try Seville in southern Spain. Another destination is recommended if you are a fan of Game of Thrones.
One of the quirky and the most beautiful cities in Europe, Seville is a refreshing destination that’s lively, has the perfect mix of the old town and the glamourous new city.
Seville has the best Instagram spots as every cobbled street as pretty white, yellow and pink buildings decorated with flowers in the patios. The old town is home to the stunning Cathedral and the Bell Tower.
You should take a tour of these historic sights, including the Royal Alcazar Palace. Spend the evening watching the traditional flamenco musical shows savouring Tapas and Sangria.
Exploring Seville is like breathing in a fresh, pleasant breeze that you should certainly experience for a unique European city experience.
Among the many underrated cities of Europe is the capital of the Scandinavian country – Copenhagen.
While it is true that it is one of the expensive cities, you can easily spend a weekend in the city frugally, because it is totally worth it.
Beautiful Castles surrounded by lakes and flower fields, large quirky, public gardens including the 18th century Tivoli, canals, vibrant harbour in Nyhavn adorned with cute waterfront houses and ultra-modern buildings are all the reasons why you should add Copenhagen to your itinerary.
If your idea of a European city is a post-card like backdrop, then Innsbruck qualifies it with outstanding colours.
One of the most beautiful cities in Europe, Innsbruck is set against the snow-capped peaks of the Alps that stand rugged and mystic as the city goes about at its foot offering plenty of experiences leaving something for everyone.
You can plan some of the best hikes come summer and spring while in Innsbruck. In winter, you can bet that Innsbruck is turned into a ski lovers heaven, with these Alps offering rich ski slopes.
A few weeks before Christmas is among the best times to visit this city as you will land in a winter wonderland with packed Christmas markets, decorations and trees adorning the streets and the smell of the baked delicacies welcoming you.
There are many more things to do in Tyrol’s capital city – For starters, take the Nordkette funicular to the top and be swept away by the stunning 360-degrees views of the valleys and the city views from the top.
Check out the sleepy, vibrant medieval town and the many museums. The city is also home to the highest-altitude zoo in Europe -Alpenzoo.
Another pick among the most underrated cities in Europe is the capital of Scotland, Edinburgh. Seemingly endless green hills, castles, magnificent and historically rich old town embellished with a blend of Renaissance and neo-classical structures on the cobbled streets make Edinburgh one of the most beautiful European cities.
Harry Potter fans will be delighted to know that the city has plenty of locations, including the cafes that were visited by J K Rowling when she was penning the books.
You can explore the city over a weekend thanks to its compact size. Stroll along the famed Royal Mile admiring the architecture and aesthetics.
Make sure to visit the imposing Arthur’s seat for splendid views, and sign up for a tour of the majestic Edinburgh Castle fortress perched on the rocky cliff including its museum, which has extensive collections of the Royal family’s possessions.
Recommended Read: Interesting Facts About Edinburgh You Need To Know
The largest city of Greece Athens is one of the underrated cities in Europe that deserves a lot more attention.
I mean it is one of the places in the world where the civilization started from the stone age, dating back to 400 BC in time.
Walking amidst these ruins of thousands of years is teleporting back in time, which also is a reason good enough to make it one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.
Ancient Greece was one of the most advanced and powerful empires, and even to this day, you can explore some of the most iconic landmarks on your trip – like the famous hilltop citadel Acropolis and the ancient Parthenon temple.
If you are a museum lover, don’t skip a visit to one of the best museums in Europe – the National Archaeological Museum.
Take a tour of the many ruins that stand enigmatically surrounded by modern-day skyscrapers.
Hop on to the cable car to go up Lykavittos Hill for sweeping views of the city. Taste some of the best cuisines and wine while enjoying this lovely city.
Although noted for being the centre of politics and administration in Switzerland, Bern is more than that – It is one of the charming cities of Europe on the banks of the River Aare around a crook.
Ancient walkways and modern bridges connect the neighbourhoods of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Altstadt or the old quarter, which is filled with amazing buildings and landmarks that you can’t miss admiring, especially the imposing clock tower Zytglogge and the Gothic Bern Cathedral – two important monuments in Bern.
The city is compact and you can enjoy the best on foot. If you are looking for a city in Europe that’s not too mainstream but totally wonderful, Bern will perfectly fit the bill.
A perfect English city that you have been wanting to visit on your Europe trip may get fulfilled if you head to York, one of the beautiful cities of Europe within a stone fortress on the River Ouse in northeast England.
A city first founded by the Romans, York has a long line of rich history, architecture and cultural elements evident in its attractions.
Walking through the narrow alleys inside the medieval walls, you will notice the distinct monuments including the gates and other protected structures.
Make sure you visit the most popular landmark of York – The York Minister, a gorgeous 13th-century Gothic cathedral that boasts a splendid stained glass display on its huge windows.
Among the most beautiful cities in Europe, the capital of Sweden, Stockholm indeed deserves a mention.
Comprising of 14 islands connected by bridges and boat trips on the Baltic Sea, this unique city is the iconic symbol of the magical cities in Scandinavia – distinguished by the typical features of the region – colourful buildings lining the waterfront, beautiful gardens and theme parks, castles and museums.
If you want a thorough Scandinavian experience of a city that’s upscale and also equally stunning with the perfect mix of the old quarter and new city, Stockholm is your answer.
Don’t forget to wander through the bright coloured Gamla Stan or the old town, which also has some of the best cafes and restaurants for a bite and a drink.
Whether it is the bright yellow trams the Moorish mosaics or the bustling neighbourhood of Alfama – there are many reasons why Lisbon should be on this list of the most beautiful cities in Europe.
The capital city of Portugal on the hill adorning the coastal line of the Atlantic is known for its pastel-coloured monuments, splendid hill-top views, castles, bridges, gorgeous beaches and museums.
Take a trip to the majestic São Jorge Castle, meander through the old town soaking in all the colours.
Stroll along the Tagus Estuary and capture the best views from Ponte 25 de Abril suspension bridge – you can do a lot and fall in love with the city in just a weekend, that’s assured though.
Gdansk may be the most popular escapade for the Polish when they want to hit beaches, but even the world needs to know how beautiful the city is.
Home to some of the best museums in the world, including WWII Museum, a beautiful waterfront with unique Dutch-style wooden buildings and an equally colourful old town square encompassing pretty cobblestone streets, Gdansk is one of the best places in Europe.
It is also one of the cities you should pick if you are looking for cheaper destinations that are incredibly beautiful.
If you are here in winter, witness the magical Christmas market, one of the many wonderful venues for Christmas markets in Poland.
One of the most beautiful cities in Europe that deserves a lot more attention is the city of Nice in southern France.
No doubt, it is one of the most charming places in France, located on the French Riviera – blessed with a stunning coastline of the Baie des Anges, hills overlooking the Mediterranean, castles, gorgeous views, a nice mix of the old town and the modern city, wine and excellent French cuisine.
Did you know? The city was founded by the Greeks and it was a city of the European elites and artists in medieval times.
You can hop between the splendid beaches or climb the hills for majestic views of the coast or just go shopping and eat – the options are endless in Nice, which is why it’s a perfect city to suit all moods.
BEST CITIES IN EUROPE – OFFBEAT
The below list of the most beautiful cities in Europe is for you if you prefer going off the beaten path.
If you are thinking – Thanks, but no Paris or Florence – you will probably love these cities of Europe that are gorgeous, receive fewer tourists and have excellent weather, connectivity, cuisines and nightlife.
One of the most gorgeous countries in the world is Iceland, hands down. Its mystic, out-of-the-world landscape encompassing rocky cliffs, natural hot pools, magnificent waterfalls, wooden houses coupled with its remote location makes the country very alluring, almost like an enigma that waits to be discovered.
Among the most beautiful cities in Europe off the beaten path is Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland, which is the world’s northernmost capital.
The beauty and ruggedness is just the tip of the Iceberg and your starting point for a trip filled with continuous moments of Ah! and Wow! – Believe me, Iceland does that to you.
Rent a car and get on the road for covering the Golden circle, blue lagoon and the waterfalls for more of Iceland or enjoy the coastal city of Reykjavik, which has waterfront buildings, museums, the famous Allgrímskirkja church and the Lake.
If you want a city that’s bustling with the energy of youth at the nightclubs and streets, think of Wroclaw in Poland.
Thanks to the famous universities, the city draws young folks from all over the world, but that’s not just the reason for visiting Wroclaw.
It is one of the most beautiful places in Europe that boasts of a colourful, huge old town, excellent food and drinks, museums and oh, it is the city of dwarfs that are scattered all around and it’s fun to go gnomes hunting when you are here.
Nicknamed the Venice of the Alps, Annecy nestling at the foot of the Alps in France is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.
Its fairytale atmosphere will leave you singing words of admiration within a short time of exploring the city.
The old town is connected through walkways and canals run through them alongside which you will find some of the prettiest spots you can imagine, with the snow-capped peaks of the Alps forming the dreamy backdrops.
Take a stroll alongside the pretty Lake Annecy, or better take a boat ride. Admire the waterfront buildings decorating the city after getting out of the magical old town.
Annecy is one of the best cities in Europe for a true experience of a city that’s not over touristy.
The capital of the country of Georgia might be one of the best choices to make if you are looking for something off the beaten path as it is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe that gets little attention.
The old town is embellished with a mix of Russian and Persian style architecture, and even a bit of nouveau, which adds to the beauty of the cobblestone streets.
You can easily spend around 2 to 3 days in this pretty city which is home to many museums, and contemporary landmarks.
You should definitely add a tour of the iconic hilltop Narikala fortress on your itinerary.
Another gem in the Adriatic is the city of Split in Croatia, which is certainly one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.
This beauty of the Balkan along the coast is blessed with gorgeous beaches, fairytale fortresses, stunning old town, home to well-preserved monuments that will take you back in time and plenty of city-breaks equally pretty.
Get ready to drool over the white-washed buildings decorated with flowerpots and nice patios along the winding cobbled alleyways in the dreamy old quarter.
If you want to move away from historic monuments and squares, head to the beaches.
Or even better, plan a day trip to the gorgeous Krka National Park or the stunning Brac and Hvar islands.
In the southern part of Bosnia and Herzegovina, lies the lovely Mostar on the Neretva River.
It is one of the best places in Europe to visit if you want to experience a city that’s not commercialized for tourists or sold aggressively.
If you are looking at one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, you should certainly add Mostar, which is most famous for its landmark Stari Most – the iconic medieval arched bridge.
The splendid old town boasts of ancient limestone buildings, the uphill cobbled stone alleys leading to the top.
Visit the Old Bridge Museum and the Mosque of Koski Mehmed, from the tower of which you can enjoy amazing views of the city.
The technological capital of Norway is one of the cities in Europe that is blessed to have an excellent location, on the Trondheim Fjord.
While the colourful Nordic-style wooden buildings will leave you smitten as you walk past the waterfront, there is more as you step into the old town.
Check out the iconic Gothic Nidaros Cathedral known for its painted glass windows. Museum-lovers have many of them that you can explore to know about the city’s history.
There are plenty of Instagram spots that await, blanketed in snow in winter – oh, it is one of the best places to witness the spectacle of northern lights so maybe you should plan a winter trip to Trondheim if watching this phenomenon is one of your bucket list items.
Another Scandinavian gem that’s a fairytale destination is the city of Rovaniemi in Finland.
The capital of Lapland in northern Finland is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe that’s so gorgeous that it is the official home town of Santa Claus!
It was one of the few cities that completely rebuilt itself after the destruction during WWII. The post-card picture landscapes are very tempting for any travel lover.
Come winter, and you can do a ton of things in Rovaniemi including the winter sports, but the best part about the winter in Rovaniemi is the surreal Northern Lights.
There are many unique museums like the Arktikum, which is all about the Arctic region and Lapland or the Science Centre Pilke which has collections of the forests in the region.
In short, Rovaniemi is a total package when it comes to European cities.
Among the prettiest countries in the world is Portugal, which is among the few all-year-round destinations in Europe.
And one of the most beautiful cities in Europe is Portugal’s Albufeira, a coastal city in Algarve in the south.
From being a quaint fishing village it is now one of the top holiday destinations especially in summer when it is the best time to enjoy the gorgeous white sand beaches.
Take a stroll on the promenade to admire the white-washed buildings or and the old town which is the prettiest.
You can take boat trips and enjoy all the beach activities. At night, the city’s shores turn into a party hub for amazing parties that go all night some days.
If you are looking for a gorgeous city that’s compact and best enjoyed on foot, you should check out the harbour city of Galway in Ireland, one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.
It is a famous getaway for Irish and its neighbours, but in recent years, the popularity has grown around the world
Its splendid location on the River Corrib at the meeting point of the Atlantic Ocean is one of the best things.
Galway is considered the cultural hub of Ireland, and you will find many unique things about the rich culture and traditions of the place when you get to listen to folk music in bars or head to the heart of the old town the Eyre Square, which also contains a few remains of the medieval wall.
The colourful waterfront buildings, cafes made of stones, art galleries on the cobbled streets are all the pleasant things to enjoy in Galway.
One of the most beautiful Mediterranean destinations is the post-card perfect Malta, comprising of rugged islands, beach towns, islands and castles.
Its capital city Valetta, one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, is the perfect base for exploring the beautiful country.
Imagine stunning harbour, stone castles and fortresses, some of the most incredible winding uneven cobbled streets, imposing medieval wonders and splendid viewpoints that offer sweeping panoramic views of the turquoise Mediterranean coast – these are some of the awesome things to do in Valetta.
Don’t miss taking boat trips to nearby islands and visiting the medieval monuments and museums that have some of the oldest artefacts.
Not many know about the country of Bulgaria let alone its second-largest city Plovdiv, which is a shame because it is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and a hidden gem.
Did you know? Plovdiv is the oldest continuously-inhabited city in Europe with the first human settlement dating back to 6000 BC.
Scattered over seven hills, the city is as good as Athens or Rome when it comes to history and ruins.
Enjoy a tour of the Ancient Theatre of Philippopolis belonging to the Roman period, where you can even enjoy a concert or a musical evening.
The old town is compact, walkable and well-maintained, packed with a variety of diverse monuments from a mosque belonging to the times of Ottoman Turks to Roman temples to chapels of the Gothic period.
Nicknamed the crown jewel of Macedonia, Ohrid is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe that’s still off the majority of the tourist’s radar.
If you are a fan of smaller cities, you will love the compact city of Ohrid instantly, sitting pretty on the edge of Lake Ohrid, which is one of the most magical lakes in Europe.
You can spend a few days just exploring the neighbourhoods around the lake, or enjoy many activities in the lake itself, including a boat trip in the evening.
As for the attractions, Ohrid is packed with many basilicas and museums, but the special things to explore are the ancient places of settlement best enjoyed via tours.
You can easily cover most of the city on a weekend in Ohrid.
If you are a fan of cities and neighbourhoods flocking the waterfronts, you will instantly fall in love with this beauty Porto, nestling on the River Douro, which divides the city into two.
This striking city on the coastal line is renowned for its waterfront district filled with colourful buildings.
And thanks to its hilly location and a river that parts the city, you will find winding streets and walkways with beautiful architecture hard to miss your attention.
The city is characterised by Moorish architectural wonders dominated by blue mosaics in all shapes and size – considered some of the most vibrant monuments in Europe.
Harry Potter fans have one more stop to make in Europe here in Porto.
Visit the decorative bookshop Lello that was the inspiration for writing the series of Harry Potter books. Enjoy the beaches or promenades or even better, relax at the Tidal pools.
If you are going to rate the cities for their best location, Kotor would make it to the number one spot without a doubt.
The city on the Adriatic coast of Montenegro next to the rugged limestone cliffs of Mt. Lovćen is a part of the Natural and Culturo-Historical Region of Kotor and a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is transitioning in leaps and bounds after being an underrated European city for too long.
Meander through the entwining streets in the old town within the walls characterised by churches, medieval monuments and squares, with the jewel at the centre of Kotor Cathedral.
Take a boat trip to the island of Sveti Đorđe, which houses an ancient church and make your way to the top of the gorgeous castle for sweeping views of the coast and the city.
Kotor was and continues to be one of the important trade locations, and you can learn all about it at the Maritime Museum.
MOST BEAUTIFUL CITIES IN EUROPE – BONUS
I know the list has gotten long, but I couldn’t resist adding the below ones because there are tons of beautiful cities in Europe, and I wanted to finish off with some of these – a few obvious and a few surprises.
Naples may not be one of the offbeat destinations anymore in Italy thanks to its sudden growth in popularity, but it also means that you should check out this beautiful city in Europe at least once.
To get more of the charm of Italian cities, you can add Naples and you will definitely be far from being disappointed.
Located on the Bay of Naples in southern Italy, Naples is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. Castles, Cathedrals and Caves are some of the top attractions in the city.
It has a unique neighbour Mount Vesuvius, the still-active volcano that once destroyed nearby Roman town Pompeii a long time ago.
You can hike in this mountain Vesuvius that has a lot of trails offering splendid views.
The city is home to many gorgeous castles including the lavish Royal Palace and Castel Nuovo. Art lovers will enjoy visiting the cathedral that’s decorated with beautiful frescoes.
Also, definitely book a tour of Naples underground geothermal zone – a series of tunnels and caves that were used for many purposes since the Greek and Roman times – You will learn many interesting things on this tour apart from feeling like traveling back in time.
Plus, you can plan many easy day trips as getting to places like Pompei or Positano from Naples is very convenient.
While this may not be many’s favourites, some consider London to be one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, and this list is incomplete without mentioning the city.
Love it or hate it, but you can’t escape the imposing medieval monuments that impress any time or the metropolitan vibes and the view of the glowing city from the river as you enjoy a ride in the water taxis.
London needs to be given a chance for many things – from architecture to museums(Hello, Madame Tussauds) to the British Royal family to musical about whom you can get to know a lot to evenings in the theatre – you will have your days full here.
Whether it is taking a tour of the Buckingham Palace to enjoy a ride on the famous London Eye or even joining a walking tour of the city that gives you the best highlights including the Parliament House or the London Tower history – London is certainly worth visiting.
Oh, bonus if you are a Harry Potter fan like me because this is where you should check the famous platform and other cool things on this Warner Brother’s tour that will take you into the world of wizards.
Strasbourg, the capital of the Alsatian region is one of the most beautiful cities in France that’s also an underrated destination among foreign travellers.
The timber-framed homes adorning the streets, the cobblestone alleys leading to the streets of Le Petite France, and the canals make it one of the most beautiful cities in Europe
Due to its proximity to the German border, you will find the city more German than French.
Don’t forget to join a boat tour in the evening that offers splendid views of the city after strolling through the old town comprising of the cathedral, the iconic bridge and also Kleper Square.
Did you know? Strasbourg is home to one of the most enchanting Christmas markets in Europe.
Museum-lovers can spend their time checking out The Palais Rohan and Alsatian Museum. Visit The Grande Île island home to many medieval remains.
You shouldn’t miss indulging in the delicious Alsatian wine and cuisine.
And if you have a few extra days, I’d highly recommend planning a trip to Colmar, one of the fairytale towns in France.
There are many reasons why you should add the city of Salzburg to your travel bucket list, but the top one is that it is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.
For starters, this is another city that totally grabs a top spot for its splendid location at the eastern Alps in Austria, close to Germany.
Plus, this fantastic city is the birthplace of the legendary musician Mozart, which is why Salzburg also gets the title – The capital of Music.
Divided by the Salzach River, you can find the magnificent Altstadt, or Old Town, a preserved UNESCO World Heritage Site and a symbol of ancient Austria on the left bank, while on the right is the sprawling modern city sprinkled with concrete buildings.
Join a tour of the splendid hilltop Hohensalzburg Fortress, plan a visit to the beautiful Mirabell Palace apart from checking out the streets of the old town which houses the gothic Cathedral.
You should definitely take a tour of Mozart or attend one of the evening concerts.
Nuremberg, the second-largest city in Bavaria in Germany, is one of the prettiest cities in Europe known for its magical medieval atmosphere – a treasure very well-preserved amidst the modern city.
Nuremberg’s rich history includes both the renaissance and pre-war times -as early as the Holy Roman period, during which it was the centre of administration and place of residence of the kings.
Although many people visit Nuremberg as one of the day trips from Munich, I’d recommend you to spend at least a few days in the city as it is a gateway to rich Bavaria.
The Altstadt or the Old town is the prettiest part of the city, lined with lovely buildings including the iconic Frauenkirche, the Gothic church, Schöner Brunnen, a 14th-century fountain and others lining the cobbled streets.
Take a tour of the Hauptmarkt, the local market in the square. You should definitely book a tour of the gorgeous Castle of Nuremberg.
Museum-lovers should visit Albrecht Dürer’s House, a Nuremberg Fachwerkhaus that was the home of German Renaissance artist Albrecht Düre.
Although Nuremberg never fails to impress you no matter when you visit, I’d highly suggest you be here around Christmas if possible.
The city transforms into a paradise as the decorations deck up everywhere, but the stop shopper is the Christkindlesmarkt.
You can find some of the enchanting Christmas Markets in Germany in the city of Nuremberg, which is also consistently ranked the best in Europe.
Lucerne, located at the foot of Mount Pilatus, is regarded as one of the prettiest cities in the world partly due to its fantastic location straddling the Lake Lucerne and the stunning snow-capped Alps in a backdrop on all the sides – making it indisputably one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.
Apart from its rugged natural beauty, a picture-perfect old town square with gable paintings, historic buildings, covered bridges and lovely cobbled streets will appeal to you.
Check out the iconic landmark – a 14th-century Chapel Bridge, a covered wooden bridge with ceiling beams lined with paintings. It is one of the oldest bridges and the most photographed landmark in Switzerland.
Take a boat trip on the river to the neighbouring idyllic small villages that are even more beautiful, sitting at the foot of the mountains. You can also take a romantic lake tour on one of the steamships.
Book a ride on the double-decker tram to reach the summit of Mount Stanserhorn for glorious views of the panorama from the top. You can also hike in the trails leading to many viewpoints.
Zurich, the largest city of Switzerland is certainly one of the most beautiful European cities, located on the banks of the pretty Lake Zurich.
Unparalleled views of the snow-covered Alps form a gorgeous backdrop to the historic old town on the River Limmat, which is home to Grossmünster and Münsterbrücke Cathedrals and medieval buildings decorated with fresco paintings. Not to forget the St.Peter’s Cathedral, which boasts of the most massive clock face in Europe.
Did you know? There are over fifty museums in Zurich. If you are looking for lively nightlife, don’t worry as there are dozens of bars and pubs serving some fantastic beer and wine.
If you are in Zurich in August, you can participate in the vibrant Street Parade – a techno music festival where hundreds of thousands of music fans dance around Zurich’s Lake basin.
Shopping enthusiasts should head to Brahonstrasse, one of the most expensive streets for shoppers in the world.
Head to the top of Lindenhof Hill by a cable car or drive for stunning views of the city.
Dresden, home to the Kings of Saxony kingdom for many centuries, is one of the most beautiful European cities famous for extravagant medieval structures throughout the city, centuries-old traditions and culture and teeming greenery.
The Elbe River divides the city with one side being the ancient city and the modern city on the other.
Explore the heart of the old city, which is home to many medieval structures including the imposing baroque church Dresden Frauenkirche with its huge dome, which is the icon of Dresden.
Dresden’s Christmas market is also one of the best Christmas markets in Europe, known for its traditional ambience.
The New Dresden encompass many Baroque buildings and houses, cafes, restaurants, cheese shops and large gardens like Großer Garten.
Zwinger Palace is another iconic landmark of the city, one of the finest examples of Baroque architecture influenced by the Versailles in France.
Enjoy a guided tour of Zwinger palace which includes a visit to the museums one housing the Sistine’s Madonna.
Also, don’t miss a tour of the opera house Semperoper Dresden (with old town tour combo), or even better, book a concert.
Castle lovers should plan a trip to the Moritzburg Castle on an island.
One of the underrated destinations in Scotland is the port city of Aberdeen located at the confluence of two rivers.
Home to many Victorian landmarks, especially the grey-stone buildings, a laid back atmosphere, excellent cafes and rich history are reasons why it is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and best for those wanting to off the beaten path.
The city is home to many enchanting stone castles including the famous Balmoral Castle – The fans of the Crown TV series should certainly take this guided tour.
You can get to know about the culture and history of Scottish highlanders in the many museums and also art galleries.
Aberdeen also boasts of many gorgeous parks and gardens, and if you are here in summer, you can have a good time at Aberdeen beach.
Dublin may not be the first choice of many when it comes to the most beautiful cities in Europe, but it is worth giving a try for sure.
The capital of Ireland is one of the coolest cities, known for its amazing nightlife and parties. But there are many things to enjoy even for the non-party people.
Straddling the River Liffey, Ireland is home to many prominent historic buildings including the 13th century Dublin Castle and the impressive St Patrick’s Cathedral, founded in 1191.
Visit the National Museum of Ireland to get glimpses of the unique Irish heritage and culture.
If you don’t like the cold or the damp weather, summer would be the best time to visit Dublin as you can also enjoy many beautiful parks and being outdoors during this season.
MOST BEAUTIFUL CITIES IN EUROPE – FINAL THOUGHTS
Whew! That’s a mammoth list of the most beautiful cities in Europe. I’d highly recommend you to bookmark this post and come back when you are going to plan a trip.
There are more extensive travel guides and itineraries coming up for many of these cities and countries in Europe, so stay tuned.
So which is your favourite European city? Do you have any other that you would like me to add if so please share your thoughts in the comment below and I would be happy to oblige?
MORE EUROPE TRAVEL INSPIRATION & FURTHER READING
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