Europe is a part of the world, literally every meter of which is saturated with centuries of history and has its own unique atmosphere. Any traveler would like to visit European cities at least once, be inspired by their beauty, feel their elusive magic, a special lifestyle, walk along famous streets, visit sights whose history is so interesting and multifaceted that it has long been overgrown with legends. We present to your attention the most beautiful cities in Europe – a summary rating that will acquaint the reader with the brightest, unique and historically valuable corners of the continent.
1. Paris. France
Panorama of Paris with the Eiffel Tower at sunset
A dream city, the most romantic city in the world – in these words, almost everyone recognizes Paris. The elegant, luxurious, most visited city on earth receives about 50 million tourists every year! It is not surprising, because more than 2000 years of history of the French capital is so priceless that you can study it by visiting memorable places endlessly. A river cruise on the Seine, a picnic on the green lawn near the Eiffel Tower, admiring the stunning Gothic architecture of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris – these are just a small fraction of the goals that you should definitely realize once you are in Paris.
2. Rome. Italy
View from the dome of the cathedral on St. Peter's Square and the obelisk from the Circus of Nero in Rome
The eternal city-symbol, the city-source – the birthplace of Western civilization. It was here, on the banks of the Tiber River, that the mighty Roman Empire unfolded, which later played a crucial role in the history of all European states. It is worth starting your acquaintance with the city by visiting the most valuable, key sights that have become the hallmark of Rome: such as the legendary ancient Roman arena Colosseum, the main bastion of the Vatican Catholic Church, the state heart of Ancient Rome – the Roman Forum, the ancient baths of Caracalla, numerous squares and magnificent baroque architecture.
3. Prague. Czech Republic
Scenic view of the bridges on the Vltava River and the old town with red roofs and colorful walls
Fairy-tale, mystical, bewitching – such epithets have stuck to the magical Czech capital. The spirit of Prague is fascinating, and many tourists, choosing the most beautiful cities in Europe, return to their favorite cobbled streets: they admire the impressive Gothic architecture, magnificent Baroque facades and red tiled roofs that have become a recognizable symbol of the city. River trips along the Vltava, a walk along the Charles Bridge, getting to know the magical atmosphere of Gothic castles and, of course, the opportunity to enjoy hearty Czech cuisine are far from all the possibilities available to guests of Prague.
4. Barcelona. Spain
The main entrance to Park Güell with two fantastically shaped houses – pavilions
The football center of the world, the capital of Catalonia and at the same time the most charming city in Spain – of course, all this is Barcelona. Founded in the 3rd century BC, the city had a difficult history, around it there was a struggle for power between the Romans, Moors and Visigoths, and later it passed to the descendants of the Frankish kings. The immortal creations of Antonio Gaudí's architecture, the fascinating Gothic facades of temples and the whole Gothic quarter, the iconic Camp Nou football stadium, as well as a number of vibrant national festivals reveal the essence of the city and its culture.
5. St. Petersburg. Russia
The central part of the southern facade of the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg
As for Russia, the main tourist center of the country has always been and remains the royal St. Petersburg. Fascinating landscapes of the Neva embankment, symbolic drawbridges, dozens of museums with the most valuable historical and artistic expositions, graceful palace and park complexes with magnificent fountains – all this, in the rhythm of dance, takes the visitor into the atmosphere of a medieval ball. The grandiose palace ensemble Peterhof, the Hermitage, the Kunstkamera, the Church of the Savior on Blood, Vasilyevsky Island – all these and other memorable places seem to reopen the pages of the brilliant history of the Russian Empire.
6. Helsinki. Finland
Helsinki Cathedral rising above the surrounding cityscape
Although the Finnish capital cannot boast of a particularly outstanding historical and cultural heritage or an abundance of pompous architecture, this city has its own unique charm. Helsinki is very atmospheric, with a restrained northern nature, which the Finns really appreciate, so there are many recreational parks, as well as a fragrant botanical garden. Strict embankments dressed in granite, the majestic Cathedral and the Senate Square, the Sveaborg fortress on the islands, the original Temppeliaukio temple, the harsh bulk of the Kallio church, a whole series of museums – this is far from all that this northern city is valued for.
7 Reykjavik. Iceland
Beautiful view of Reykjavik city center from the Hallgrimskirkja tower
The rating of the most beautiful cities in Europe is continued by the handsome Icelandic capital, which is called the “tourist gate” of the northern country. Despite the fact that Reykjavik is the largest city on the island, it can be walked around in just one day. The mysterious “smoking bay”, as the name of this city sounds in translation, is a hallmark of a small island of Iceland. There is no old pompous architecture here, but there are a number of modern attractions: the creative building of the Harpa concert hall, the Perlan boiler room with thermal water, the Lutheran church of Hallgrimskirkja, a number of museums and exhibitions.
8. Dubrovnik. Croatia
Romantic old town of Dubrovnik at night
The pearl of the Adriatic, the city of Dubrovnik, is interesting for travelers both from a historical point of view and for a resort holiday. Locals jokingly say that in order to see and get to know the whole of Croatia, it is enough to go to Dubrovnik. Indeed, everything that the Balkan state can be proud of is concentrated here – the cleanest sea, magnificent beaches, ancient architecture, as well as a wide variety of local dishes. The historical buildings of the city include the towers of Minceta, Bokar, St. Ivan, the Pile Gate, the Sponca Palace, the Cathedral of the Virgin Mary, the Rector's Palace.
9. Budapest. Hungary
Aerial panoramic view of the Royal Palace and the Chain Bridge over the Danube
The Hungarian capital has existed since the time of the Roman Empire, demonstrating a high level of development in recent decades. And sometime in the first century AD. it was the administrative center of Aquincum, which was later renamed Obuda. Later, it merged with the neighboring settlement of Pest, and in the Middle Ages Budapest became one of the glorious European capitals. Since then, the city has retained the grandeur of an imperial city, and today you can visit a lot of historical places here: for example, the neo-Gothic Hungarian Parliament, Buda Castle, St. Stephen's Basilica, the Opera House, the Museum of Fine Arts.
10. Innsbruck. Austria
Innsbruck at night after the first snowfall
The ancient Austrian city of Innsbruck is located in the ring of majestic mountain ranges, which is why it is famous as a high-class ski resort. However, Innsbruck can offer its guests much more than just opportunities for active winter holidays. After all, the heritage of the Middle Ages, European sophistication and modern civilization are closely intertwined in it. Among the top places to visit are the Hofburg Imperial Palace, Ambras Castle, the luxurious baroque Helblinghaus, a number of museums and temples, the magnificent Hofgarten park.
11. Florence. Italy
Cityscape of Florence on the Arno River
The world center of culture and art, the embodiment of the Renaissance spirit, the city of great creators and the real pride of Italy – all this is Florence, the administrative center of the historical region of Tuscany. It is impossible to remain indifferent to the picturesque views of the Apennines that surrounded the city from the north and east, and of course, to its magnificent and countless sights. The architecture of the city is a magnificent example of Italian Gothic, and numerous museums exhibit collections of works by famous Florentine masters – Michelangelo, Dante, Boccacho, Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci.
12. Copenhagen. Denmark
Bird's eye view of Copenhagen and the canals on a beautiful summer day
The capital of the world's oldest monarchy is spread over islands in the Øresun Strait, which connects the Baltic and North Seas. Copenhagen is the birthplace of the great storyteller Hans Christian Andersen, cultural festivals, colorful carnivals, ancient castles and rich museums. The ancient harbor of Nyhavn with colorful facades preserves the spirit of antiquity, Strøget Street demonstrates an unusual contrast between ancient architecture and ultra-modern buildings, the magnificent Rosenborg Castle is the site of the exposition of the treasures of the Danish crown, the Royal and Opera Theaters will introduce you to the rich cultural life of the city.
13 . Seville. Spain
Semicircular Plaza of Spain with a large fountain and a canal surrounded by buildings
The top of the most beautiful cities in Europe is complemented by Seville, the center of the authentic Spanish province of Andalusia, the birthplace of vibrant festivals, incendiary flamenco dance and bullfighting. The origins of the richest history of the city originate in the distant third millennium BC. The squares of Seville inspire with baroque facades. In the Santa Cruz quarter, immersed in Mediterranean vegetation, the spirit of the Middle Ages still does not stop. The grandiose Cathedral impresses with its size and gloominess of the Gothic style. Pilate's house reminds us of gospel stories, and bullfights are still held in the Maestrans bullfighting arena.
14. Dresden. Germany
Dresden Old Town Historic Center
On the banks of the Elbe, near the Czech border, lies the German city of Dresden. From a tourist point of view, it is one of the most attractive cities in Germany, with its calm and harmonious atmosphere. Many cultural treasures were skillfully restored after the war events of the Second World War, others were carefully preserved, being taken out of the city. The historical part of the city is a real storehouse of cultural values: numerous palaces, museums, galleries, cathedrals are concentrated on a small square in the very heart of Dresden, demonstrating the oldest history of ancient Saxony.
15. Vienna. Austria
The main tree of Austria and the Christmas market on the square in front of the Vienna City Hall
Another treasure in the galaxy of European beauties is the ancient Austrian city of Vienna. Vienna experienced its greatest prosperity during the years of the Habsburg dynasty, who collected the greatest examples of art in their capital, which is why today you can find so many museums here that store the rich cultural heritage of the country. Magnificent palace complexes impress with their baroque façades, the Karlskirche Church impresses with an amazing fusion of baroque, rococo and Byzantine styles, and from the Danube tower you can view the surrounding panoramas within a radius of up to 80 kilometers.
16. Český Krumlov. Czech Republic
Old houses with red tiled roofs in the historical center of Cesky Krumlov
Another wonderful Czech city, Cesky Krumlov, is located in the south of the country, close to the borders with Austria. It is worth emphasizing the originality and comfort of this small town – it is especially tempting to walk along the narrow streets, inspiring with their elegance and carefully preserved antiquity. All memorial buildings were concentrated on a small area, between the picturesque bends of the Vltava. This tiny island of the Middle Ages has collected several architectural examples of Czech Gothic, the 8-century-old Krumlov Castle, the Egon Schiele Museum, St. Vitus Church and the Regional Museum.
17. Istanbul. Turkey
Hagia Sophia in Istanbul is a world famous monument of Byzantine architecture
The city on two continents, which has become a meeting place for two absolutely diverse cultures – Asian and European, has preserved the most valuable historical heritage. Istanbul seems to combine the incompatible: it is here that two continents are connected, and it is here that the border of two seas – the Black and the Marmara – passes. At the same time, the European and Asian parts of the city are separated by the Bosphorus Strait, through which bridges are laid, so symbolically connecting these two parts together. The main decorations of the city are its beautiful mosques, such as the Blue Mosque and Suleymaniye, palace and park complexes and magnificent bridges.
18. Bern. Switzerland
Aerial view of the old town of Bern with the river Aare flowing through the city on a sunny day
Switzerland is unusual in that officially it does not have a capital, but behind the scenes this role has been assigned to the town of Bern, nestled around the picturesque bends of the Aare River. The most attractive historical part of Bern is located in a hilly river bend – the first settlements of the old city were formed here in the 12th century. Most of the architectural sights are concentrated here. The panorama of Bern is striking in its beauty – red tiled roofs are buried in the greenery of lush vegetation, and the central street abounds with attractive restaurants and ancient fountains.
19. Brussels. Belgium
Statue of King Albert I in the garden of Mont des Arts in Brussels on a beautiful summer day
The Belgian capital is an example of an amazing combination of Dutch practicality and French elegance. In the jungles of city blocks, there was a place for architectural monuments of different styles and eras: cold Gothic, lush Baroque, elegant Art Nouveau and laconic modernity. The first thing that comes to mind at the mention of Brussels is the famous Belgian chocolate, but a closer acquaintance with the city reveals its depth and cultural richness: among the iconic monuments are the Grand Place, the Town Hall building, a lot of palaces and Gothic temples.
20. Venice. Italy
Aerial landscape of Venice with Santa Maria della Salute Church on the Grand Canal in the Dorsoduro area
The 20 most beautiful cities in Europe are completed by sophisticated, romantic, graceful Venice, a city of hundreds of canals and bridges, where dark and damp quarters are hidden behind the magnificent facades of cathedrals and palaces, and contrary to the tendency for the city to gradually disappear under water, dexterous gondoliers continue to roll inquisitive tourists along narrow convolutions of the channels. And as before, for tens and hundreds of years, the main squares of the city, near the Gothic cathedrals and Venetian palaces will be crowded with people who want to touch the legendary history of the Italian city on the water.
Which cities in Europe are the most beautiful? Of course, there is no unequivocal answer to this question – everyone expects something different from traveling around the cities: some are attracted by the beauty of garden and park landscapes, others expect the disclosure of historical secrets, and others are attracted by the authenticity of old streets. A selection of the most beautiful cities in Europe allows you to find something close to yourself among this variety – cities, a trip to which will leave a bright and memorable mark on life.