Luxury Travel

Trip to Europe's Most Beautiful Cities

Every city and village, from Paris' seductive boulevards to Rome's ancient ruins, contains a treasure trove of stories just waiting to be unearthed. Over the years, my travels have led me to the most remote regions of this great continent. I was thrilled by the midnight sun in Reykjavik, serenaded by street performers in Vienna, and lost in Barcelona's fascinating neighborhoods. Each journey, whether it was sipping cappuccino in a small Italian piazza or touring Istanbul's lively marketplaces, has left its stamp on my heart.

For those looking for a diverse range of experiences, I've compiled a list of Europe's most attractive cities. This guide, based on my own love experiences with these cities, will help you discover the best of Europe. Now, let's look at the most gorgeous European cities to add to your bucket list!

Before we get into all of the best sites in Europe, let's go over some brief recommendations to help you save time and money on your trip.

FLYING: If you haven't already, I highly recommend joining up for Scott's Cheap Flights (formerly known as Going). This year alone, I've traveled roundtrip from Boston to Barcelona for $295 owing to their free email alerts. Premium and elite versions are even better!

If you plan on visiting numerous countries, get the Eurail Pass. It offers unlimited train travel throughout Europe, making it both handy and affordable. Renting a car from Discover Cars is also an inexpensive way to move around.

Europe is famed for its rich history and great architecture, but with careful planning, you may see its iconic cities, attractive towns, and scenic landscapes without breaking the bank. Arrive in Europe and begin your life-changing journey!

Most Beautiful Cities in Europe

The following is a list of the most attractive, intriguing, and enriching cities in Europe. I've explored the entire continent, from Western Europe to Eastern Europe, and from the Mediterranean to the Baltic Sea.

1. Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic

Český Krumlov | Map, Czech Republic, & Facts | Britannica

Český Krumlov is like a dream come true! This is the coolest city in Europe for architecture enthusiasts. Almost every street within the city walls is worthy of a postcard.

I've been to many old towns around Europe, yet nothing nearly compares to this one. Český Krumlov, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, boasts stunning Baroque and Renaissance structures along its scenic river. A 13th-century castle soars above the historic district, providing panoramic views all around.

2. Bergen, Norway

Ahh, Bergen! Nestled between renowned fjords and encircled by seven hills, this Norwegian jewel exemplifies Europe's breathtaking splendor. When I initially arrived in Bergen, it felt like I was walking into a postcard. The bright wooden homes of Bryggen, a UNESCO World Heritage site, stand out against the foggy mountains and deep blue lakes.

But Bergen isn't just about the scenery. Dive deeper, and you'll discover a city steeped in maritime history, bustling fish markets, and a cultural scene that outperforms its size. The narrow cobblestone alleyways are full of history, from the Hanseatic merchants of the past to the modern-day eateries serving delectable Nordic food.

3. Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm truly has it all: breathtaking natural beauty, a rich history, and a thriving culture. Stockholm, located on the Baltic Sea coast, is made up of 14 islands, each with its own distinct character.

Gamla Stan, or Old Town, is one of the city's most prominent monuments, home to the Royal Palace as well as a variety of ancient streets and squares. The palace is a spectacular example of Baroque architecture, with a gilded exterior and elaborate decorations.

4. Dubrovnik, Croatia

Dubrovnik travel - Lonely Planet | Croatia, Europe

This picturesque city is located on the Adriatic Sea's coastline. Dubrovnik, known as the "Pearl of the Adriatic," has been an important maritime and cultural hub since the Middle Ages. As such, it is one of the most beautiful European towns to visit in 2024.

When you enter Dubrovnik's 16th-century walls, you will be awestruck by the Baroque architecture and limestone alleys. As expected, the Old City of Dubrovnik is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

5) Strasbourg, France

Strasbourg is the capital of Alsace, a region in eastern France. Strasbourg, known for its bright timber homes, resembles a scene from a storybook. It's no surprise that it's rated one of Europe's most beautiful cities.

Strasbourg has had a turbulent history, changing hands multiple times between Germany and France. As a result, you'll hear French, German, and Alsatian (which is similar to Swiss German) spoken on the streets.

6. Riga, Latvia

Riga, located on the Baltic Sea, is a must-see city in Europe. As Latvia's capital, it is a cultural hub with numerous world-class museums, art nouveau architecture, and authentic shops and restaurants. Riga is the largest city in the Baltic region, and it should not be overlooked on a Baltic Cruise itinerary.

Spend your days exploring the medieval Old Town along the banks of the Daugava River. This portion of the city is vibrant and walkable, with hundreds of years of rich history. Riga has been a key trading hub for centuries. However, the city's essence today is best exemplified by its flashy art nouveau architecture and cosmopolitan atmosphere.

7. Krakow, Poland

Krakow, Poland is a city that exudes charm and elegance at every turn. Located in southern Poland, it is home to a variety of spectacular attractions, notably the Wawel Castle, a stunning castle and palace complex perched atop a hill overlooking the city.

The Old Town is one of Krakow's most scenic regions, with a variety of historic streets and squares, including the Main Square, which features the famed Cloth Hall and St. Mary's Basilica. The Old Town also has a lot of attractive cafes, restaurants, and stores, making it an ideal area to spend time exploring.

8. Florence, Italy

Florence Travel Guide by Rick Steves

Florence (Firenze) is the capital of Italy's Tuscany region. It is the famous birthplace of the Renaissance, which is clearly seen throughout the city. Florence is also famous for its world-class art, fashion, and gastronomy, which exemplify the city's dolce vita ("sweet life").

Florence was Europe's wealthiest city during the Middle Ages, because to its robust trade and banking. The Medici family built Florence's prestigious reputation. This noble dynasty dominated the city's political and financial environment in the 14th and 15th centuries.

9. Santorini, Greece

Santorini is a Greek island in the Aegean Sea made up of various small towns. The most popular settlements are Oia, Fira, and Imerovigli. For the purposes of this study, I will refer to Santorini as a city because these communities form a single municipality.

Santorini's craggy clifftops were constructed after a major volcanic explosion 3,600 years ago. Santorini's prehistoric settlement, Akrotiri, is remarkably well-preserved, much like the Roman ruins at Pompeii. This excavation site gives light on the Minoan Civilization, which flourished here in the third millennium BC.

10. Lisbon, Portugal is one of Europe's top cities

It would be a crime to publish an essay about Europe's most beautiful cities without include Lisbon.

Lisbon, Portugal's coastal city, is most renowned for its colorful architecture, cobbled alleyways, and seven majestic hills. Lisbon is the old world's San Francisco, complete with steep streets and cable cars. There's even a bridge in the city that looks like the Golden Gate Bridge!