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The Most Beautiful Cities in Europe

European cities are starkly different from the cities around the world. They don’t have tall buildings, but they have been around for centuries. They have enough architecture, culture, food, paved streets (built 500 years ago by a mason), and mountainous and river landscapes that make them some of the most beautiful cities in the world. In this post, we are going to walk you through the most beautiful cities in Europe.

 We understand that this is a subjective topic, and therefore, we only included our own opinion based on our experiences of visiting these cities ourselves. Some of the cities will miss out, not because they are not beautiful, but because we haven’t been there yet, so it won’t be right to give a candid opinion. 

But we are still travelling; we will be updating and adding more cities as soon as we visit one.

most beautiful European cities

What is the most beautiful city in Europe? 

Florence, Italy 

On top of our list is Florence, the capital of the Italian region of Tuscany. Owing to its central location, Florence is always one of the first places to visit on any trip to Italy.  

Florence is the city of art, with astounding landmarks in every turn you make. It has one of the best architecture you will ever come across, and you can enjoy it while walking slowly through its cobblestone streets 

Florence Cathedral, one of the most recognizable buildings in Florence, is located in the heart of the city, surrounded by ceaseless cobblestone streets. 

The city is also considered to be the origin of the Renaissance movement, which you can learn about in museums such as the Uffizi Gallery and Galleria dell’Accademia. 

Allow yourself to get lost in this magical city in central Italia 

What is the prettiest European country? 

The prettiest country in Europe has to be Italy. Maybe it is the picturesque city of Venice, the all-encompassing allure of the Tuscany region, or the excitement of being soaked in the culture, history, and art, but Italy is that country that you will always find yourself visiting over and over again. 

What are the best European cities to visit? 

Since it is hard to decide the best city in Europe to visit, we will just list them in alphabetical order, so the rank doesn’t really mean that the city above is better than the one below.  

Annecy, France 

Annecy is a wonderful French city that deserves to be on our list. It is absolutely beautiful but in a different way. It has all the accessories of fairy-tale land, with swans moving smoothly through the quiet canals and a snowcapped mountain on the background. In addition, the charm of the Vieille Ville (Old Town), adds to the romance with its winding labyrinth of pedestrians and cobble streets flunked by elegant buildings.  

Most of our time in Annecy was spent strolling through the city as we discovered more of its storybook enchantment. 

Amsterdam, Netherlands 

Also known as the Venice of the North, Amsterdam’s beauty is found in its intricate canals and modern architecture. It is a cultural city and is known for its pioneering of healthy living. 

Amsterdam is also family-friendly thanks to fewer cars and more bicycles and boats. 

People are super-friendly there too. 

Antwerp, Belgium 

Antwerp is a beautiful city with a storied history. It is sophisticated yet quite welcoming, and perfectly blends antiquity and modernity thanks to its Renaissance-inspired architecture, cobblestone streets, and modern buildings. 

Its location also explains why Antwerp played a very important trade role in the ancient world as well as why it is where it is today. 

Alesund, Norway 

You simply have to visit this striking art nouveau city. Located on a peninsula on the island of Bergen, Alesund is a vibrant fishing town that is surrounded by scenic mountainous views of Sunnmore. 

But there is more to the city than just its sumptuous natural surroundings; Alesund is known worldwide for its Art Nouveau style architecture. 

Norway is famous for its magnificient fjords, like Geiranger fjord and Hjorund fjord.

Barcelona, Spain 

As far as European cities go, Barcelona is easily among the top 5 most beautiful not only on the continent by also in the world. Geographically, the city is located by the sea, but it is surrounded on the other sides by forest-covered mountains.

The works of Antoni Gaudi are enough to convince even the most discernible visitor that Barcelona deserves a top spot in the list of the most beautiful cities around the world. 

Most famous landmark in Spain – La Sagrada Familia

The expansive open-air piazza La Plaza Real is one of the highlights of the city, while the Gothic Quarter is a must-visit also. 

The Tidibado Amusement Park and the Tidibado Mountain also add the stunning landscape of Barcelona.

Bratislava, Slovakia

Bruges, Belgium 

From canal boat tours and numerous forms of art to lacemaking and sweet Belgium waffles, Bruges is one of the most stunning cities in Europe. It is located in the Flemish Region in Belgium and prides itself as one of the first tourist destinations in the world. The city is where the first French and British rich tourists visited during the mid-1800s. 

The name Bruges is an Old Dutch word “brugga”, which loosely translates to ‘bridge’ which is also influenced by many canals traversing the city.

Bruges is always referred to as the ‘Venice of the North’ due to its canals. 

Its historic city center is a UNESCO Site and features many, well-preserved medieval structures that should not be missed, including the Belfry of Bruges and the Church of Our Lady. 

Budapest, Hungary

Copenhagen, Denmark 

Visiting Copenhagen, we realized that the city has exceptional taste on almost everything, from architecture and fashion to breathtaking landscapes and furniture.

The liveliness and vibrancy of the city make up for the cold temperatures and darkness it experience almost throughout the year. 

The castles and amazing waterways, all contribute to the beauty of Copenhagen.

We also loved how we were not far away from the water wherever corner of the city we visited. 

Copenhagen is one of the few cities to get out of World War II unscathed, so expect to find attractions from as back as 15 century around the city.

Dubrovnik, Croatia 

Unlike many Balkan cities, Dubrovnik is a pretty and extremely busy city! The city center is magical and everything important is found here or therein. 

The city still has its medieval walls with gates. 

The main entrance of the city is an esplanade called ‘Placa’, and inside you will immediately recognize the landscape. This is exactly the Kings Landing setting from the HBO hit show Game of Thrones. 

Edinburgh, Scotland 

Having been the capital of Scotland since the 15th century, Edinburgh has one of the most sweeping romances we have ever seen. The city centre is divided into two – the old town, which is filled with a jumble of old-fashioned buildings and the new town, recognizable by its Georgian buildings. This makes Edinburgh the most beautiful, messiest city we have ever visited! 

Nevertheless, there are plenty of things to fill up your Edinburgh itinerary thanks to its many contrasting facets.

Enjoy premier art festivals, drinks in rowdy pubs, shopping in many designer shops, or laugh at a comedy club.

Ghent, Belgium 

Surprisingly, the highlight for many travellers in Belgium is usually this small northern city of Ghent. However, once you reach there, everything will make sense and you get to see why the city is among the most beautiful in Europe. 

One of the attractions of Ghent is the Saint Bavo’s Cathedral, which stands some 89 meters tall. Visitors are allowed to climb to the summit of the church’s bell tower for amazing views of the city.

Krakow, Poland 

Krakow is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. There are lots to do for everyone, which makes for our family visit to Krakow a delight. Old Town with the biggest in the Europe market square, Wawel Castle where Polish Kings used to live and the Dragon!!! Yes, Krakow has its Dragon which blows fire every hour

Call me bias but I believe that the most beautiful city in Poland – Krakow is as well one of the most beautiful city in Europe. Since the first time I saw it – being a little girl, I felt hopelessly for the charms and beauty of Krakow. The city seems to have it all. Old Town with the biggest in the Europe market square, Wawel Castle where Polish Kings used to live and the Dragon!!! Yes, Krakow has its Dragon which blows fire every hour which makes it extra special when you visit Krakow with kids.

Everything about this city is beautiful – cobblestone streets filled with hansom carb rides and pretty buildings, churches, and a castle plus there are lots of interesting day trips out of Krakow.

Lisbon, Portugal 

The capital of Portugal is such an amazing place. With its breathtaking vistas and colourful buildings, there is a vibe that Lisbon propagates that you will never find in any other city in the world. 

Despite its stature as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, a trip to Lisbon for us felt like venturing to some kind of off the beaten path, compared to trips to cities like Paris, Rome, Barcelona, and London. 

But once we stepped our feet in Lisbon, we could feel the charming of this sleeping lion, having been one of the superpower cities of the world in past eras. 

The highlights of Lisbon are the stunning views in Alfama and at St. George’s Castle.

London, United Kingdom 

There is so much beauty in The Great Wen that we could write hundreds of pages and they will still not be enough. London is most often ranked as one of the most beautiful cities in the world and is among the few European cities with skylines dominated with skyscrapers. 

There are many reasons why London should be considered the most beautiful city in Europe, from its famous landmarks such as Big Ben and Westminster Palace to the peaceful River Theme, beautiful parks, and hundreds of historic buildings.

London is also home to one of the largest museums in the world, the British Museum.

Mykonos, Greece 

The city of Mykonos is located on the island of the same name. The town, locally known Chora, is an archetypal Cycladic village built amphitheatrically.

It is a serene town characterized by whitewashed cubic buildings with wooden tinted doors, and labyrinths of narrow streets, ancient churches, and beautiful chapels as well as purple bougainvillaea 

The city center is shut off from traffic, making it easy to stroll around and take in all the beauty on show. Other beautiful island to visit in Europe is Santorini which has one of the blue cities in the world.

Moscow, Russia 

We finally visited Moscow. It has been one of those elusive travel destinations but when we finally got a chance to visit this famous European capital, we did so with a lot of expectations, and it didn’t disappoint. 

Moscow has been around for more than 800 years and has plenty to offer that it can take months to just scratch the surface. The city has some of the most striking, grandiose cathedrals, big green spaces, and modern skyscrapers. 

St. Basil’s Cathedral is a must-visit for everyone, the same as the Kremlin.

We did our best to enjoy everything that Moscow offers, but that was always going to be impossible, so we will definitely be coming back in the future.

Prague, Czech Republic 

Prague has consistently been voted among the best cities in the world in the past few years. The city, which is also the capital of the Czech Republic, is known for its striking architecture, vibrant markets, and hilltop views

Visiting the Old Town early in the morning before other tourists is one of the highlights of our trip to Prague. The city center is also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  

Among the things, we enjoyed seeing include the Charles Bridge, Prague Castles, and the Old Town Square.

We also enjoyed the cuisine of the city as well as its nightlife and mulled wine we drunk in abondance during winter walks. 

Paris, France 

It is just impossible to compile a list of the most beautiful cities in the world, leave alone in Europe, and not include the City of Lights, Paris. 

Paris is probably one of those cities that we will visit again and again because we were not able to do or see everything the city offers. 

The Eiffel Tower is one of the most famous landmarks in Europe and the world, and it is always the highlight of many trips to the city. 

But Seine River Cruise was our best experience along with visiting the Louvre, the largest museum in the world. 

Rome, Italy 

Rome has been the jewel of Europe since ancient times, and even today, it is considered the most beautiful and remarkable city in the world. 

There is just so much beauty in this Italian capital in terms of architecture and art. In every corner of the city, you will see spectacular fountains, obelisks, statues, and architecture like the Colosseum is also one of the most popular European landmarks.

Rome is as well perfect base for day trips

piazza navona - rome with kids

Reykjavik, Iceland 

A few cities can boast the amount of natural beauty as Iceland’s Reykjavik. It is small but with enormous impact. 

It has colourful buildings and immense cultural heritage. 

The city center is usually almost empty and easy to explore. 

In terms of nature, the city of Reykjavik is surrounded by rugged landscapes and waters, not to forget the Northern Lights.

Stockholm, Sweden 

Sweden is one of our favorite countries not just because it is close to our home country of Poland but also because of its breathtaking beauty, which is enhanced by the stunning landscapes, fjords, lakes, mountains, architecture, and its people. 

Stockholm also has one of the most beautiful Old Towns, known as the Gamla Stan, located on the central island. It is in the Old Town that you will also find the Royal Palace. 

Though the Old Town features a lot of 13th centuries and beyond, most buildings around Stockholm look historic. 

Trees can also be found in almost all the streets in the city, which contributes to the aesthetic of the city.

St. Petersburg, Russia 

Although Moscow is the most popular and largest city in Russia, St. Petersburg is also among the most important cities in terms of culture and attraction in the country. It is the second-largest behind Moscow and one of the most beautiful cities not only in Europe but in the entire world. 

Just like most European cities, the city center of St. Petersburg is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Within the city centre is the famous Winter Palace, which used to be the official residence of the royal family between 1732 and 1917. 

The palace today is home to one of the largest museums in the world in the name of the State Hermitage Museum, which is also worth a visit.

The Hermitage is a must-visit if you ever find yourself in St. Petersburg. 

Strasbourg, France 

Strasbourg doesn’t sound like a French city, but that is because it is located near the border of France and Germany. This region is wonderful and has been swapping nationality between the countries four times as the two European states have long been fighting over the area. 

The city nevertheless is arguably among the most striking canal cities in the world. 

Tallinn, Estonia 

Tallinn is the true definition of the beauty of the Baltic. Nestled amidst rolling hills that descent into the Baltic Sea, the Estonian capital is one of the few medieval towns that still boast its original watchtowers and walls. 

It is quite a postcard-perfect city with beautiful scenery at almost every turn. 

We just got lost in the quaint cobblestones and red-roofed buildings of Tallinn. And you have kids as we do, there are plenty of church spires for them to climb and plenty of museums to check into.

Venice, Italy 

Where do we even start with Venice? La Dominante, City of Water, City of Bridges, City of Masks, The Floating City, Queen of the Adriatic, and the City of Canals among many others, are just a few nicknames given to this Italian city.

A city with so many canals will always be beautiful, but what makes Venice standout as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe is its art and architecture, through which it persistently parades its vast wealth accumulated many centuries ago. 

Valletta, Malta 

Many people consider Valletta as the prettiest capital in Europe. The city itself is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was voted European Capital of Culture in 2018 along with Leeuwarden in the Netherlands. 

Walking along its cobblestone streets, we could feel the history of Valletta and why it is among the most loved European capitals. The Baroque buildings are surrounded by the blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea. 

We also found out that this small city houses the largest concentration of art in the whole of Europe. 

Valletta – Capital of Malta

But the beauty of Valletta lies squarely on its mélange of British, Arabic, and Italian architecture. 

Verona, Italy 

Located on a U bend section of the Adige River, Verona has every right to feature on our list of the most beautiful cities in Europe. The city is known for its historic center and a range of beautiful structures and architecture. 

Despite being the same region as Venice, Verona still holds its own and is one of the most visited cities in Italy. 

We found Verona’s own Colosseum, the Arena de Verona, which was constructed by the Romans in the 30 AD. 

The city is also famous for Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet play.

Vienna, Austria 

The Imperial capital of Austria was voted in 2019 the best city in Europe by Readers’ Choice Award. We visited the city at the height of the cultural season and everything was just marvelous.

Vienna offers an exceptional mixture of imperial traditions and striking contemporary architecture. 

The opera house, which was rebuilt after it was destroyed 2nd World War, is considered the most stylish in the world, and a must-visit.

The city is actually one of the oldest in Europe, having been found some 2,000years ago by the Romans and played an important role in their empire due to its location on the Banks of Danube River. 

Zurich, Switzerland 

Zurich is the largest and most popular city in Switzerland. The city is centrally located and not only is it one of the prettiest cities in Europe but also among the most important financial hubs in the world. 

The city features some interesting combination of the fresh-looking old town and frenetic modern life. 

Zurich is also surrounded by the picturesque Lake and Limmat River, which flows through the city from the Lake. 

On a clear day, it is possible to see the Swiss central Alps across the lake. 

Perhaps the beauty of Zurich is found in the Old Town, where you can discover the traces of the Renaissance period.

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Ania James

photographer, traveller, mother of twin girls, wife, worldschooler, rulebreaker

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