This post may contain affiliate links. At no cost to you, purchases made through these links may result in a small commission for The Migrant Yogi, keeping the website up and running – thank you!
Given the relatively tiny size of the European continent, it can be difficult to believe you can cram so many beautiful cities within its borders! From east to west, north to south, beauty is nothing if not abundant on the European continent. We’ve tried to narrow it down, but have still only managed to cut the list down to 37 of the most beautiful European cities and towns.
1. alberobello, italy
Located within an hour’s drive from Bari, Alberobello is, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful towns to visit in Europe. One of its districts – Rione Monti – has been made a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to the unmistakable, yet rather strange trulli. Trulli are whitewashed houses typical to Itria Valley, constructed without mortar.
Alberobello can easily be visited as a half-day trip from Bari, whether you choose to rent a car, catch the train, or the bus.
In the protected area, there are a lot of trulli that serve various purposes: there’s even a trulli church that you can visit inside! Most of them are, however, either shops, cafes or restaurants. If you plan to stay longer, you can even book a night or two in a trullo.
But the most spectacular thing to do is just roam the streets without a purpose. There are photo opportunities at every step and the further from Corso Vittorio Emanuele (the main street) you venture, the fewer visitors.
There’s another district where you can find trulli – Aia Picola. It is still a residential area where you can’t find many tourists.
2. barcelona, spain
Despite the droves of tourists that descend on the Catalonian capital each year, Barcelona maintains its gothic beauty, earning it a well-deserved spot on this list of most beautiful European cities. A city perfectly nestled between the Balearic Sea and breathtaking mountains, Barcelona exudes a certain charm found nowhere else on earth.
With gorgeous architecture, beautiful churches, and one of the most spectacular pedestrian thoroughfares you will ever see (La Rambla), Barcelona is one of the prettiest cities in the world. There is Gaudi’s basilica La Sagrada Familia and Parc Guell, as well as the other Gaudi structures that decorate the city.
Some of its most stunning features include the expansive open-air La Plaza Real, the Gothic Quarter with its maze of narrow streets and magnificent architecture, Tidibado mountain and its majestic views, and more. If you need a reason to leave the city, there are plenty of incredible day trips to take from Barcelona!
3. bergen, norway
Joanna, The World in my Pocket
Bergen is without a doubt one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. Located in the South of Norway, Bergen is a gorgeous getaway surrounded by seven mountains. The old town of Bergen, Bryggen, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, while the city itself is a World Heritage City. The old wooden houses in Bryggen host a number of independent shops. Among them you can find a year-round Christmas shop, cafes, and restaurants.
One of the most popular attractions in Bergen is the fish market, located in the heart of the city – the harbor. Here, you will find the best fish and seafood, to take and cook at home or eat on the spot. The marinated smoked salmon is particularly delicious and a must-try.
Just outside Bergen you will find the Fantoft Stave Church, a traditional Norwegian medieval wooden church.
For nature lovers, Bergen is a hikers’ paradise. The seven mountains offer fantastic trails with magnificent views. The most popular hike is the Vidden Trail, which starts at the cable car of Mount Ulriken and continues over the peaks to Mount Floyen.
Alternatively, you can take the funicular up Mount Floyen. This is ideal if you’re not up for a hike but still want to see a birds-eye view of Bergen.
4. bitola, north macedonia
Bitola, the second-largest city in North Macedonia, is undoubtedly one of the most charming and underrated cities in the Balkans. The urban landscape combines Ottoman heritage and elegant European architecture for a swirling mix of styles, with plenty of green spaces and a long pedestrian boulevard lined with outdoor cafes.
In a past life, Bitola was known as the ‘City of Consuls’ because of the number of foreign consulate buildings. Abandoned long ago, they now form a set of charming facades around Magnolia Square. When exploring Bitola, walk all the way up Shirok Sokak, the main boulevard, to reach the square, the clock tower and Central Park.
Cross the Dragor river to find yourself in the northern part of the city – which has a very different feel. The old Ottoman Quarter is characterized by spiraling minarets, domed bathhouses and the Bezisten covered market. Get lost in the old bazaar, a maze of streets that was once Bitola’s main trading hub. Many shops are shuttered but a few have been repurposed as boutiques and cafes. Don’t miss the iconic Bar Carsija, a local drinking hole that’s partially set in a 500-year-old hammam.
Set aside a full afternoon to visit the southern end of the city and admire Bitola’s ancient beauty. Founded in the 4th century BC, Heraclea Lynkestis boasts fine Greek and Roman ruins, including a grand amphitheater and some truly stunning Byzantine floor mosaics.
The city is easy to get to by bus from the capital, Skopje, or by car from neighboring Greece (Bitola is around 15km from the Greek border).
5. bordeaux, france
Victoria, Guide Your Travel
Bordeaux is definitely one of France’s most underrated cities and among Europe’s most beautiful. Its location in the south of France make this area is known for its fantastic wine-making traditions. Bordeaux is a beautiful historic city that many visitors overlook. It is located on the Garonne River and has a lot to offer.
The Place de la Bourse is a must-see for its famous architecture and stunning vistas of the city. The surrounding waterfront, the Quais de Bordeaux, is one of France’s most beautiful areas. In the late afternoon, go for a walk along the riverbank or have a picnic.
A journey to Bordeaux isn’t complete without a wine tasting, of course. This region of France produces some of the world’s best wines, famous for its stunning vineyards and wineries. Saint Emilion, a small village located just outside of Bordeaux, is one of the best places to visit while you’re in Bordeaux.
It’s the ideal location for sightseeing and exploration. A little tourist train takes visitors around the vineyards from one chateaux to another. There are, of course, many wine tastings around and you should definitely buy a bottle of wine to take home with you as a souvenir or a gift for a loved one.
6. bruges, belgium
With its impressive medieval masterpieces, inspiring monuments, and breathtaking architecture, the Historic Centre of Bruges is a sight to behold. Bruges is probably the most beautiful city in Belgium, and one of the most beautiful cities in Europe!
In order to fully comprehend how important Bruges was, it is wise to visit some of its historic landmarks. These include the central marketplace with its Belfry, the Béguinage, as well as the hospitals. Bruges is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, for good reason!
The city of Bruges has become one of Belgium’s best tourist destinations because of its rich history, medieval buildings, and charming canals. And with good reason! There are so many canals and bridges in Bruges. Its nickname is actually ‘Venice of the North‘ (shared with Amsterdam). Bruges is one of Belgium’s most Instagrammable cities, and one of the most beautiful in the world!
7. budapest, hungary
When thinking of the most beautiful European cities, many people automatically think of the big contenders – Paris, Barcelona, Rome, etc. But many would be surprised that this central European capital packs a punch in terms of aesthetics. Budapest is rife with beautiful old architecture, instagrammable street art, picture-perfect market squares, and more.
The structure that truly stands out in beautiful Budapest is Fisherman’s Bastion, a building that looks like it’s straight out of a Disney movie. Other stunning places in the city include New York Café, St. Stephen’s Basilica, the Chain Bridge, the many thermal baths, and of course, the Hungarian Parliament building.
Budapest is easily accessible from virtually anywhere within Europe, and there are many direct flights from outside the continent as well. If you’re toying with the idea of your very first solo trip, Budapest is the perfect city to visit.
Have a few days in Budapest with time to spare? There are a number of extraordinary day trips from Budapest to get to know Hungary on a more intimate level.
8. capri, italy
Lori, Travlin Mad
The Isle of Capri off the coast of Naples in southern Italy is without question one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. With regularly scheduled ferry boats operating between the island and Naples, Sorrento, and Positano, getting there is easy.
The best time to travel to Capri is from Spring into Fall. Although many visitors are on day trips, spending a night or two in a boutique hotel allows you to explore and experience the allure of this island before the daily crowds arrive and after they’ve gone back to the mainland.
Capri is well-known for its historic sites, high end shopping, and amazing restaurants. There are also plenty of things to see and do in Capri that the whole family will enjoy.
Beautiful beaches on clear azure water can be found all around the island. Taking a boat tour will get you to the less crowded areas so you can enjoy a swim or explore the grottoes. A visit to the spectacular Blue Grotto is one of the most popular activities for visitors.
Or take a hike through beautiful gardens to the Roman palace, Villa Jovis, built by Emperor Tiberius in 27AD.
A beautiful and secluded boutique hotel with a great breakfast is the lovely La Minerva. From here you can stroll and dine in the main square, Piazza Umberto. After dinner is a romantic and magical time to walk through narrow streets with the scent of flowers in the air. You’ll never forget a visit to Capri.
9. dubrovnik, croatia
Nina, Nina Out and About
Nestled along the edge of the Adriatic lies one of the most beautiful European cities: Dubrovnik, Croatia’s vibrant capital.
Made famous by Game of Thrones, Dubrovnik’s rich history and orange terracotta roofs have finally started to get their due. One of the best ways to appreciate the city is to take a Game of Thrones walking tour. Even if you aren’t a GOT fan, you’ll love this breathtaking tour of famous forts that protected the city from Venetian attacks, a tour of the ancient walls that continue to protect the Old Town, and exploration of the beautiful blue waters where the actors would enjoy their time off.
To relax, visit one of the local beaches, where you can enjoy the pebbled beaches (bring swimming shoes!) and the incredibly blue ocean. Pair them with a local beer or a squid ink risotto for the perfect day of luxury.
Visit the walled city of Dubrovnik by flying into the local airport, taking a bus or train from Split or Zagreb, or driving along the coast of the Adriatic. This Croatian city is perfect for a weekend getaway or a full holiday adventure.
10. galway, ireland
Though not as famous as its big sister, Dublin, the city of Galway is one of the most beautiful places in Europe. Galway City is a lively area filled with friendly people, street musicians, and of course, Irish pubs. Despite its small size, Galway has plenty of things to do and experiences to cherish.
One of the best things about Galway is its close proximity to Ireland’s renowned Wild Atlantic Way. With such stunningly beautiful places such as the Cliffs of Moher, Connemara National Park, Kylemore Abbey, and the Aran Islands, it’s no wonder that western Ireland has such a reputation for epic beauty. All of these make for easy and accessible day trips from Galway.
The colorful buildings of Quay Street and the surrounding area are a photographers’ dream. Take ‘the long walk’ at Salt Hill or head to the Claddagh to explore areas in addition to Galway’s bright, lively city center.
11. ghent, belgium
Sharon, Exploring Our World
Ghent, Belgium, is a highly underrated city, among the most beautiful in Europe. It offers the perfect mix of history and trendy, vibrant life. Medieval architecture decorates the center of the city. It’s home to the Castle of the Counts that dates from the 12th century. And it’s also where you find Ghent University. Students zip by on bicycles and gather in groups at cafes. This gives the old town a fun buzz of activity.
The centerpiece of Ghent is the lovely River Scheldt. The water flows along, dotted with colorful boats, spanned by stately bridges, and lined with tubs of bright blooms. Relax in a waterside café and enjoy a Belgian beer as you take it all in.
Not only is the city beautiful, but it is also home to world-famous art. Most well-known is the collection of panels, The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb. These were painted in 1492 by Jan and Hubert Van Eyck. Napoleon once stole these, the Nazis tried to find them, and one of the panels has been missing for 80 years. Head to the Bavo Cathedral to admire these paintings.
Less touristy than nearby Bruges, smaller than Amsterdam, Ghent is definitely worth a visit. Listen to the sounds of the carillon music coming from the Ghent Belfry. Mingle with the locals when you stroll along the river at sunset. Marvel at this beautiful city that offers all the best of Europe. Ghent will surely win a special place in your heart.
12. hallstatt, austria
Charu, Travel with CG
Situated by a glowing lake in Austria’s hilly Salzkammergut region, Hallstatt is one of the most beautiful European towns. Consisting of storybook homes, unmatched views, and a charming atmosphere, it is a picturesque destination that is also a recognized UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Hallstatt can be easily reached by train from Austrian cities like Vienna and Salzburg. The Austrian National OBB train provides frequent services with just one change at the Attnang-Puchheim station for a transfer to the regional train heading towards Hallstatt. With incredible views of the alps, it is also great to take a bus or to drive to Hallstatt yourself.
Once there, start with wandering through the market square to fully take in the beauty of Hallstatt’s fairytale-like architecture. Don’t forget to visit the iconic Evangelical Church situated next to the ferry port. It is a well-known lakeside landmark of Hallstatt, which is best captured from the Aussichtspunkt viewpoint.
Since Hallstatt is known to be the home of one of the oldest salt mines in the world, going on a salt mine tour is also recommended. Some popular hiking trails leading up to the top of surrounding mountains provide an unobstructed view of this Austrian paradise too. Other activities like boating and diving are also wonderful experiences in this region.
The lakeside restaurant at the Seehotel Grüner Baum is one of the best places to have a meal in Hallstatt.
13. helsinki, finland
Ronja, Ronja Goes Abroad
Helsinki, the capital of Finland is a must-see destination for every traveling soul. As the capital, it’s very easy to get there. Helsinki isn’t like many other capitals. In the metropolises, it can be hard to believe that there is a capital that is a few steps away from the freshness of nature.
There is a national park just outside the city that is worth the visit if you like hiking. If you want to explore the outdoors but more within the city, Suomenlinna is definitely for you. Suomenlinna is an inhabited sea fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There you can explore the fortress and have a picnic by the sea. Another must-see in Helsinki that is very hard to miss is Helsinki Cathedral. This is probably the most famous structure in Finland!
Where to eat? Helsinki is full of possibilities. There are many vegan places like Loving Hut, big “food markets” (top floors in shopping centers full of restaurants) that you can pick from burgers to Thai food to traditional Finnish food and many fancy dinner restaurants like Faruge!
Finland’s main airport, Helsinki-Vantaa Airport is located just outside the city. There is a bus that will take you from the airport to Helsinki and back! Other public transport is also available. If you don’t want to travel by plane you can arrive by ferry from Estonia, Sweden, Germany among others!
In Helsinki, there is always something to do!
14. hvar, croatia
Tom & Zi, Craving Adventure
The town of Hvar is the biggest town on the popular Hvar island in Croatia. Hvar is known for its vibrant party scene but there is so, so much more to this charming medieval town! It is easily one of the most beautiful European towns to visit.
At the heart of Hvar you’ll find the largest square in all of Dalmatia, Saint Stephen’s Square with gorgeous Venetian architecture and some seriously impressive buildings on its sides. The most prominent one is the Saint Stephen I. Cathedral. Hvar is also home to the oldest public theatre in Europe which you can visit from the second floor of the majestic Arsenal building.
From the Riva (that’s what the waterfront is called in Croatia) you’ll have unobstructed views over the Pakleni Islands and when you look up you’ll see the striking Spanjola Fortress pearchd at the top of the hill. Visiting this fortress is one of the best things you can do in Hvar! And visiting the Pakleni Islands is just as amazing!
Besides it’s impressive history and architecture, Hvar is also home to some beautiful beaches, world class restaurants hidden in the charming stone streets, a lively bar scene and of course some of the best beach clubs and nightclubs in the Adriatic.
Hvar truly is a jewel of Europe and a must-visit destination in Croatia!
15. lisbon, portugal
The Portuguese capital almost seems like a painting, with gentle brush strokes of pale pinks, yellows, and blues coloring the city. Lisbon is certainly one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, offering stunning shoreline vistas littered with red roofs and winding, narrow streets.
With its numerous hills and miradoures (view points), there are plenty of places throughout the city to visit for an epic photograph or lasting memory. In fact, checking out one of the city’s 13 miradoures is one of the best things to do in Lisbon!
Be sure to get lost in the Alfama district, see the iconic Tower of Belém, take a surf lesson, or simply spend your time exploring the many hidden gems that Lisbon has to offer.
16. ljubljana, slovenia
Elina, Empnefsys & Travel
Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia is a great destination for a short city break, not to mention one of the most beautiful European cities. The Slovenian capital has many things to offer from museums to parks to bridges and squares. At the same time, it is considered one of the greenest cities in Europe with a focus on public transport and many green spaces.
To reach Ljubljana you can fly into Jože Pučnik Airport, the largest airport in Slovenia or take the bus from Venice in Italy or Zagreb in Croatia.
Once you arrive there, do not miss visiting all the highlights of the city centre. Walk around Prešeren Square and see the Franciscan Church, cross the Triple Bridge, walk to the Cobbler’s Bridge, and then make your way back to the Town Square to see the Town Hall and the Roba Fountain.
Then, visit the Ljubljana Cathedral and the Central Market, before crossing the famous Dragon Bridge, one of the city’s symbols. A short distance from there is Butcher’s Bridge, full of love padlocks on its railing.
Other attractions in Ljubljana include the Castle at the top of a hill, right in the city centre, Tivoli Park and various museums and galleries such as the City Museum and the National Galleries. With so much breathtaking scenery and so much green space, it’s no wonder that Ljubljana made the cut for most beautiful European cities!
If you want to spend some time in nature, the Julian Alps are only a short bus ride away, with Lake Bled being one of the most popular spots. Predjama Castle and Postojna Caves are also famous day trip destinations from Ljubljana.
17. marseille, france
Elisa, France Bucket List
Marseille is a beautiful place to visit in France, and among the most beautiful European cities. The capital of Provence, located by the Mediterranean Sea in Southern France, is an excellent destination for a French weekend getaway, but it can also be the first stop of an unforgettable road trip in Southern France.
The list of things to do in Marseille is long, and there’s something for every visitor. There is the picturesque old port, with the marina, its colorful boats, and the fish market every morning. The area around Marseille’s Cathedral is worth exploring, too, with the MuCEM – the museum dedicated to the Mediterranean cultures – and the recently restored Fort Saint Jean in the background.
For the best view of Marseille, climb up to the Basilica Notre Dame de la Garde. This impressive religious building was built in the 19th century in roman-byzantine architectural style. Don’t miss the interior, decorated with beautiful marbles, mosaic tiles, and ex-votos.
When visiting Marseille, don’t forget to taste its local specialties, with special mention to the bouillabaisse – Marseille’s traditional French dish made with different kinds of fish.
Marseille is well connected to the main cities in France by direct TGV trains. The journey from Paris to Marseille takes less than 4 hours. The city also has one of the busiest French airports, so you can also consider a direct flight to Marseille.
18. monaco city, monaco
Angela, Where Angie Wanders
While many travelers consider France to be one of the most beautiful places to visit in Europe, the neighboring country of Monaco is equally as magnificent. Listed as one of the smallest countries in the world, what it lacks in size is certainly made up for with the astounding wealth and beauty that exudes from every part of the city.
Start with a trip to see the changing of the guard at the Prince’s Palace high on the hill. After, wander the cobbled pathways to grab refreshments from one of the many traditional café’s lining the ancient streets.
Pay a visit to Monaco Cathedral to see the final resting places of Monaco’s royalty. This includes their Hollywood Princess Grace Kelly! Then, relax in Jardin Exotique Botanical Garden with its mesmerizing views of the calming azure sea below.
Of course, no visit to Monaco would be complete without trying your luck in the city at the Monte Carlo Casino. While James Bond might not be sitting at your table, it’s an iconic building to visit, even if you don’t want to gamble.
To see how the rich and famous spend their days, simply wander around the sea-front. Prepare to be amazed at the size of the mega-yachts that bob up and down within the harbor walls. Later, enjoy some window shopping in luxe stores such as Dior and Hermes.
To reach Monaco, fly into Nice, France. From there, a train, taxi, or helicopter (YOLO) will transfer you to the city.
19. mostar, bosnia & herzegovina
Roxanne, Faraway Worlds
Founded in 1452, Mostar’s old town is tucked into a valley on the banks of the Neretva River in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The city streets are lined with beautiful buildings from the Ottomon era and traditional restaurants and cafes. However, Mostar is most famous for its Stari Most, the graceful bridge which spans the Neretva River. All of these contributing factors make Mostar one of our most beautiful European cities to visit.
The bridge was first built in the 1600s by the Ottomans and was, tragically, destroyed by Croat forces during the war in the 1990s. With international support, the bridge was rebuilt according to the original specifications and is once again the jewel of Mostar’s Old Town. If you visit in summer, you can watch locals dive from the bridge, for a small donation.
While you’re in Mostar, also visit the elegant Koski Mehmed Paša Mosque and the historic Muslibegović House. The market in the Old Town is pleasant to wander around and the “Don’t Forget” stone is a gentle reminder to visitors of the city’s difficult history. There is also a permanent exhibition of photos from the civil war in the small museum near the bridge.
If you have the time, consider making Mostar your base while you explore the beautiful surrounding countryside. Otherwise, you can also take a day trip to Mostar from Dubrovnik for an intriguing glimpse of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
20. munich, germany
It may surprise some that Munich makes the cut as one of the most beautiful European cities. However, with so many picture-perfect Instagram spots in Munich, it’s impossible to omit!
One needs to only stroll down the great hall at Residenz or visit the Juristische Bibliotek to get an idea. And of course, the already-vibrant city comes even more to life with the arrival of autumn and annual Oktoberfest activities! If you want to plan a quintessential German holiday, Munich for Oktoberfest is ideal.
To see other stunning places in Munich, you can’t miss Nymphenburg Palace, Justizpalast, Marienplatz, and Hofgarten.
21. nafplio, greece
Chrysoula, Greece Travel Ideas
The coastal city of Nafplio lies in the Peloponnese peninsula in Southern Greece. It is one of the most beautiful cities in Greece and with great historical importance. In fact, it was the first capital of the country after the war of independence against the Ottoman Empire.
Nafplio can be visited as a day trip from Athens as it is only 137 km away. Alternatively, it can be part of any road trip in the Peloponnese easily combined with the nearby UNESCO sites of Epidaurus and Mycenae.
There are plenty of things to see in Nafplio. Start with the imposing Palamidi Castle, overlooking the city from the hill above. The island fortress of Bourtzi that used to be a prison is just a quick boat ride away.
Nafplio also boasts some interesting museums like the Archaeological Museum, the National Gallery, and the War Museum. Other highlights include the first Parliament, Syntagma Square, and the Lion’s Gate. Finally, a walk around Akronafplia and a swim in one of the town’s beaches are also musts.
Nafplio definitely deserves a night’s stay in order to fully appreciate it.
22. palermo, italy
Erin, Pina Travels
Palermo is a beautiful city on the island of Sicily, Italy. It is the largest (and busiest!) city on the island, packed with history, architecture, delicious food, and gorgeous sights. Not to mention one of the most beautiful European cities to visit.
It is easiest to reach Palermo by flight. Once you land in Palermo Airport, it’s just a one hour train ride to the city centre.
Palermo dates back to the 8th century BC. So, it goes without saying that the city has a long and vibrant history. Today, it’s a vibrant city with upbeat energy. Be sure to visit Quattro Canti, which is a Baroque square that was built in the early 1600s. From there, it’s a short walk to Fontana della Vergogna. This monumental fountain was built in Florence, but transferred to Palermo in 1574.
To discover an interesting part of Sicilian history, head to the Capuchin Catacombs. Here, you can learn about the history of mummification in Sicily. These are just some sights that you must see in Palermo!
To discover local cuisine, head to one of Palermo’s many food markets, and be sure to try Sicilian dishes like pasta con le sarde, arancini, cannoli, and granita.
Of all Palermo’s districts, stay in the Old Town or Politeama/Libertà. Both are safe and close to the sights that tourists want to see. If you stay in either of these districts, you won’t need a car and you’ll barely need to take public transportation or cabs.
23. paris, france
There are plenty of people who say that Paris is the most beautiful city in the world – and they may be right! Despite the crowds, Paris is a city everyone must experience once in their lives. Chances are, you will feel very strongly about the French capital one way or the other. Love it or hate it?
With an immeasurable amount of history, culture, traditional French food, museums, and of course, spectacular views of the Eiffel Tower, you’ll never be bored in the city of lights. On the off-chance you need to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, the city is extremely well-connected. There are tons of great options for a day trips from Paris.
The best way to appreciate the beauty of Paris is to do as the Parisians do – find a rooftop bar or terrace, experience French café culture, a grassy knoll in a pretty park, or simply the balcony from your apartment with some French wine and cheese.
24. porto, portugal
The second largest city in Portugal, Porto often takes the backseat to its big sister Lisbon. But that doesn’t mean Porto is any less worthy of a trip – in fact, we prefer it to the nation’s capital! While both cities are stunningly beautiful, Porto is blessed with fewer crowds and a slightly more temperate climate, making the summers more bearable in terms of heat.
Some of the prettiest places in Porto include literally anywhere with azuelos, such as Capela das Almas, the Stairway to Heaven lookout point, the Ribiera district, and Kittie’s Rock.
With all of the sightseeing and photography you’ll be doing, you’re sure to work up an appetite. And yes, Portuguese food is amazing! But it would behoove you to try some of Porto’s ethnic restaurants as well! Look for cuisines that come from former Portuguese colonies – Angola, Mozambique, Brazil – and you won’t be disappointed.
Porto is a small city, but there are plenty of options for day trips from Porto. Popular day or weekend excursions include a wine tasting in the Douro River Valley or hiking Portugal’s only national park, Peneda-Gerês.
25. riga, latvia
Martha, May Cause Wanderlust
Riga is the capital of Latvia, one of the Baltic countries in northern Europe – and it is one of the hidden gems of Europe.
It is a beautiful city for two key reasons. The first reason is that it is sprinkled with luscious green parks that help the city feel fresh and clean, even in the heat of summer. The second reason is that it is bursting with delightful Art Nouveau architecture. A little-known fact is that Riga’s city centre has the highest concentration of Art Nouveau architecture in the world, making it the Art Nouveau capital of the world.
You’ll find plenty of things to do in Riga, including exploring its charming old town, taking a boat ride along the pretty city canal; admiring the Freedom Monument and visiting its stunning orthodox Cathedral.
However, a top tip is to make sure you explore the Art Nouveau Museum and take an Art Nouveau architecture walking tour around the city.
You can get to Riga by flying into Riga International Airport; by train from Moscow and other places in Russia; ferry from Sweden; or you could do a Baltic road trip and drive there from Estonia or Lithuania.
26. rome, italy
Most of Rome’s beauty is found in its history. In a city so crowded, with a combination of tourists, international students, and locals all contributing to its dynamic, it can be difficult to imagine a quiet spot to soak in the beauty. Still, Rome makes the cut and lands a spot on our list of the most beautiful European cities.
Not only is the city filled with picture-perfect Instagram spots, but you’ll be surprised at how many secret places and hidden gems are available to take a break from the hustle and bustle of city life. In many of Rome’s more residential neighborhoods, you could spend at least a day or more simply walking around and photographing all of the beauty that abounds.
Have you fallen in love with la città eterna and thinking about moving? The cost of living in Rome is surprisingly low for a major tourist city. Before you decide, consider these things you should know before moving to Rome.
27. san marino, san marino
Pamela, Directionally Challenged Traveler
An amazingly beautiful city in Europe is the capital of the oldest country in the world – San Marino. It has an impressive castle and amazing views of the Italian countryside.
The best thing to do in San Marino is to explore the breathtaking castle on the peaks of Monte Titano. The three towers date back to the 11th century and overlook the entire city. Guaita is the largest and most famous of the three towers. You can walk through the old rooms and imagine what life was like centuries ago. Cesta, the second tower on the highest peak, is home to a museum holding over a thousand weapons dating back to Medieval times. Unfortunately, Montale, the third tower, is not open to the public.
There are lots of museums that are worth a visit. The National Museum is a wonderful look into the history of San Marino while the breathtaking Basilica de San Marino is almost a step back in time. For travelers who prefer more unusual items – the Torture Museum is a must-visit.
Vintage car aficionados can visit the Maranello Rosso Ferrari Museum at the foot of Mount Titano. There are over 20 Ferraris dating from 1951 to today. You can also check out other sports cars and cars belonging to celebrities like Marilyn Monroe.
No matter what you decide to see in San Marino, you’ll be glad you visited this beautiful city in Europe.
28. seville, spain
Linn, Brainy Backpackers
There is no doubt, Andalucia’s capital city, Seville, is one of Europe’s most stunning cities. There is so much history and culture to take in! You’ll need a minimum of 3 days in Seville to fully experience all the city has to offer.
Seville has a lot of influence from the times that the Moors ruled, between the 8th and 15th centuries. Definitely don’t miss the Alcazar! After the Alcazar, you need to visit the cathedral and La Giralda. Here, in the heart of the city, you’ll find the charming neighborhood of Santa Cruz – the perfect place to stop for lunch.
Next, head over to Plaza de España, famous for being the filming location for, among other movies, Star Wars. The incredible building is formed as a half circle with a small canal between the square and beautifully tiled benches named after each of the 50 Spanish provinces.
Walk from Plaza de España through the biggest and most stunning park in the city, Parque de Maria Louisa. Here, you can stumble across statues, benches, and fountains. Some of them are in Moorish style. This is a popular green space among the locals and a great place to find shade surrounded by singing birds.
While you might be tempted to visit the bullring, please take into consideration the wellbeing of the animals and the ethics (or lack thereof) of the bullfighting industry. While Seville’s bullring and several others are still in use, thankfully there’s been an overall decrease in bullfights in Spain as more and more bullrings are getting closed down.
29. sibiu, romania
The charming Saxon city of Sibiu, Romania is a must-stop during your travels through Romania. Smaller and lesser-known than its neighbor, Brașov, Sibiu was European Capital of Culture in 2007 and has been a thriving cultural hub in Transylvania ever since.
Nestled in the Carpathian mountains, Sibiu’s surrounding natural beauty coupled with its gorgeous Old Town earn it a spot on the list of Most Beautiful European Cities.
There are plenty of things to do and places to eat in Sibiu no matter what time of year you visit. In the winter, you can enjoy Christmas markets and nearby snow activities in the mountains. During the warmer months, be sure to check out Astra Open-Air Ethnographic Museum and the bustling squares of Sibiu’s Old Town.
If you’re in the area for a few days, there are plenty of day trips from Sibiu worth taking – Cluj-Napoca is only 2.5 hours away, and the medieval mecca of Sighișoara is under two hours away (both by car).
30. sofia, bulgaria
V Kay, Travel Addicted Unicorn
Sofia is the capital of Bulgaria, a small country in Eastern Europe. The best way to get there is by flying over from one of the Western countries. Once you arrive at the airport, hop on the really modern metro which is located right outside the building.
The metro system is very simple to navigate and will take you directly to the downtown area. Start your trip at the National Palace of Culture (NDK) which is one of the largest exhibition centers in Europe (there’s a subway station beside it). From there, take a stroll down Vitoshka Street (pedestrian street) where you can find a lot of cafes, restaurants, and souvenir shops.
The best food to try is Kebapche (elongated, grilled meat with spices) and Shopska salad. In terms of getting unique souvenirs, get anything made from the famous Bulgarian rose oil. From Vitoshka Street you’ll also get an amazing view of Vitosha Mountain, which surrounds the outskirts of Sofia. Following Vitoshka St. you’ll get to the downtown where all the government buildings are located.
The main attractions to check out are St. Nedelya Cathedral Church, Saint Sofia Monument, Sveta Petka Church, Church St. George Rotunda, the Parliament Building, and Ivan Vazov National Theater. Walking a bit further you’ll find the must-see Cathedral Saint Aleksandar Nevski and the National Assembly of the Republic of Bulgaria. You can explore all of the above attractions in a day or two. It’s easy to walk around or use the metro system.
31. split, croatia
Jürgen & Martina, PlacesofJuma
One of the most beautiful cities in Europe is definitely the picturesque harbor city of Split in Croatia. Some really brilliant highlights await you on a city break! First of all, you will be amazed by the extremely rich culture and historical heritage. During a city tour, there are countless impressive attractions and picturesque squares to discover. What’s really fantastic is that you can combine a city trip with exciting excursions, such as boat trips to the offshore island world.
A real must-see and probably the most important attraction of Split is the romantic old town. Insiders often count it as one of the most beautiful towns in Croatia! Here you can stroll past picturesque stone houses and experience a fascinating flair. You should definitely visit the famous Diocletian’s Palace, which is on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and therefore is Split’s main attraction.
The picturesque harbor promenade, also known as the Riva, where countless cafés and restaurants are located, is also beautiful and absolutely impressive. Nearby is the interesting Cathedral of St. Domnius, from whose steeple you can enjoy a fabulous view.
Split is also one of the sunniest places in Croatia. Perfect to enjoy the beautiful beaches around. Most of them are pebble beaches that score with crystal clear water and beautiful sea colors. So Split is a fabulous city to combine beach-time with sightseeing!
32. stockholm, sweden
Peta and Jonas, Exit45 Travels
Sweden is a beautiful country and Stockholm is considered by many to be one of the best European cities for travelers. There are direct flights to Arlanda International Airport from many countries around the world, and upon arrival, it is a short 20 minute trip by train on the Arlanda Express to the city centre.
Stockholm has a proud history dating back to 1252 and became the official capital of Sweden in 1436. This history is evident when visiting Gamla Stan, the Stockholm Old Town.
There are lots of things to see and do in and around Stockholm whether you are a single traveler, couple, or family. No visit to Stockholm is complete without visiting Gamla Stan which is considered to be one of the largest and best-preserved medieval city centers in all of Europe.
Within walking distance is The Royal Palace which is the ‘official’ home of the King and Queen of Sweden. It contains three museums showcasing many items of historical and cultural significance, and also hosts a daily Changing of the Royal Guard.
If you are looking for a unique experience, hop on one of the many ferries and explore the Stockholm Archipelago. The islands of Fjäderholmarna, Vaxholm, Gustavsberg, and Värmdö are only one hour from Stockholm city center.
Fika (coffee and cake) is an integral part of Swedish culture and you will find cute little coffee shops throughout the city selling amazing coffee, cakes and pastries.
33. tallinn, estonia
Jackie, Jou Jou Travels
Tallinn, Estonia is among the most beautiful European cities on the Baltic Sea. The city has a wall surrounding it, which you can walk along to see panoramic views at Toompea Hill. There is definitely a medieval feel to Tallinn with its cobblestoned historic Old Town and is charming nonetheless. The Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site making a trip to Tallinn even more appealing.
Some of the main attractions in Tallinn include visiting its many churches such as the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, a stunning Russian Orthodox Cathedral as well as St Olaf’s church. In addition, Kadriorg Art Museum is a wonderful museum featuring foreign art in a baroque palace.
The best time to visit is during December to witness one of the best Christmas Markets in Europe. You can see one of the quaintest markets here and enjoy a mulled wine as you stroll through the town. If you don’t want to brave the cold weather, plan your visit from March to May, when the temperatures are milder.
To get to Tallinn, fly into the local airport (Tallinn Airport, TLL). You’ll be on your way to the city center in just minutes.
34. valencia, spain
Stéphanie, Bey of Travel
It goes without saying that a city as beautiful as Valencia deserves a spot on the list of most beautiful European cities. Valencia is a vibrant city on the Spanish East Coast, which makes it the perfect getaway for both culture fanatics and beach lovers.
For the culture addicts among you, start your day by visiting the City of Arts and Science. There are plenty of cultural activities to do here. You could for example go to the science museum, a 3D movie theater or the opera. Besides, the place is surrounded by clear blue water, which will leave you with some cool pictures.
Once you’re done exploring, go to the Jardí del Túria for some relaxation. Make sure to rent a bike, as this is the best way to explore this beautiful park. Park your bike for a second to climb the Torres de Serranos, as it will grant you a spectacular view over the city.
Thirsty after climbing those stairs? Order an Agua de Valencia. This signature cocktail is the perfect drink to cool you down after a hot summer day. Now that you’re hydrated (and close to the city center), it would be a great time for you to explore Valencia’s old town. Let the alleys lead you towards Plaza de la Virgen, a beautiful square filled with nice cafés. Walk a little further to see the cathedral. End the day with Valencia’s signature dish, Paella Valenciana.
You can easily reach the city by plane, train or bus, as it has connections to other big cities, such as Madrid, Barcelona, and Alicante.
35. venice, italy
Venice may be a sinking city, but it sure is a beautiful one! If I’m being honest, Venice isn’t my favorite. The crowds are a bit too much for my liking and there’s only so much to see and do in the area. But everyone should surely see this place once in their lives!
A fun thing to do in Venice, aside from a gondola ride or exploring nearby islands, is to take a cichetti tour. Cichetti are similar to a Venetian version of tapas, a popular regional type of traditional Italian cuisine. Popular types of cichetti include crostini with various toppings, baccalà mantecato, and sarde in saor.
While in Venice, for a truly Italian experience, be sure to visit some bacari (Venetian wine bars) and sample cichetti to your heart’s content.
36. vienna, austria
The first time I visited Vienna, I was awe-struck by how clean and beautiful the Austrian capital was. The buildings were varying shades of white and cream, with their iconic seafoam green roofs, barely a piece of litter or trash in sight. In fact, I saw more people picking up trash and cleaning the streets than I did actual trash. Viennese people are very proud of their city, and rightfully so!
Vienna, aptly nicknamed the Imperial City, is full of old-world beauty and charm. There are plenty of things to do here, from visiting the city’s main attractions to taking a day trip or weekend getaway from Vienna.
If you’re staying in the city, don’t miss the views from St. Stephens’ Cathedral towers, Hofburg, the Belvedere, Schönbrunn Palace, or the Vienna State Opera. There are plenty of things to do in Vienna. Visiting in the winter months? Try a Christmas market and some mulled wine to keep you warm. In the summer, you can enjoy the city’s many parks and green spaces.
37. york, uk
Cristina, My Little World of Travelling
York is one of the most charming cities in Northern England. It is full of history, architecture and streets that will make you fall in love with the place.
York’s main attraction is the unmissable York Minster which is one of the largest cathedrals in Northern Europe. Not only its detailed exterior medieval architecture will amaze you, but its interior too. There is an entrance fee to visit York Minster, but it’s completely worth going inside the cathedral as you’ll be able to contemplate stunning stained glasses.
Other must-see attractions for history lovers include JORVIK Viking Centre to experience the Viking times in York and the York Dungeon to learn about York’s history in an entertaining way.
In addition to all of these attractions, York also has many free things to do that you must add to your list. For example, walking in York’s City Walls is the best way to explore the city from a different perspective, and it’s completely free.
At the same time, you can’t visit York without walking through the Shambles, an old street with overhanging timber-framed buildings and independent and unique shops that have anything from ghost miniatures to Harry Potter objects.
York Museum Gardens, next to the Minster, is a lovely place to relax after a full day exploring the city. Inside this botanical garden, you’ll find the beautiful ruins of St Mary’s Abbey and the York Castle Museum.
York is very well-connected with other parts of the UK, including London. You can easily take a 2 hour train from London.