Most Beautiful Cities in Europe - The Marvels of Art and Culture

The northern lights of Norway, the ancient ruins of Italy, the canal system of Netherlands, and the snow-capped peaks of Switzerland- each part of the European continent is unique in its own way! While the natural and architectural beauty of each city in Europe knows no bounds, some beautiful places in Europe stand above the rest. 

The whitewashed lanes of Santorini and the floating city of Venice are still among the most beautiful cities in Europe. On the other hand, cities like Ohrid in Macedonia and Zakopane in Poland have also gained popularity for their panoramic vistas and top-class entertainment. 

Wouldn’t you like to know more about these prettiest cities in Europe? From a high-energy nightlife to artistic grandeur and rich gastronomy, here is the list of most beautiful cities in Europe that look like parts of a fairytale!

1. Ohrid, Macedonia

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With a 2000-year-old Roman Theatre, ruins of a 5th-century Basilica, one of the oldest lakes in Europe, and also the oldest university of the continent, Ohrid is among the most attractive cities, not just in Macedonia but also in entire Europe. The medieval fortress of Samuel’s, the Church of St. John overlooking the Lake Ohrid, and the Bronze Age stilted village that has been discovered by the lake has created a magical effect in the atmosphere of Ohrid. 

While the lanes of the city get compact with the rows of traditional houses, the beauty of its lush hills and beaches with crystal-blue waters prove it to be one of the most seductive places.

Popular attractions: Church of St. John at Kaneo, Samuel's Fortress, Church of St. Sophia, Ancient Theatre of Ohrid

2. Dubrovnik, Croatia

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If you are a viewer of the famous TV series “Game of Thrones”, your eyes will surely brighten up to see the city of Dubrovnik (the fictional King’s Landing) in this list. Nestled on the Adriatic Sea, Dubrovnik is primarily known for its Baroque-dotted Old Town and limestone-paved streets. 

Dubrovnik has inspired many writers with its beauty including George Bernard Shaw who referred to the city as “the pearl of the Adriatic”. Dubrovnik has also been known for its summer festival and theatre performances. 

Popular attractions: Walls of Dubrovnik, St. Blaise Church, Rector’s Palace

Also Read - 12 Best Islands in Croatia

3. Prague, Czech Republic

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It would be a great injustice to not to mention the “golden city of hundred spires” in the list of prettiest cities. Prague, the capital city of the Czech Republic is, indeed, one of the most beautiful cities in central Europe. 

Whether it’s the 9th-century complex of Prague Castle, the unique 14-century structure of Charles Bridge, or over 600 years old Astronomical Clock, Prague has many things to keep you awestruck all the time. The Old Town with its cobbled streets and a bustling market has also been a famous spot among the tourists. 

Attractions: Prague Castle, Charles Bridge, St. Vitus Cathedral, Prague astronomical clock, Old Town Square

Also Read - Reasons To Visit Prague on Your Next Holiday

4. Venice, Italy

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“Venice is the work of genius minds”, is not uncommon to hear about this grandest and greatest city of Italy. No wonder that the artists like Bellini, Capriccio, and Guardi fell in love with Venice and expressed its beauty in their masterpieces. 

Located in Italy’s Veneto region, Venice is famous for its beautiful canal thoroughfare and the bridges built on it. Dotted with finely-aged Venetian architecture, Venice stands as one of the most beautiful old cities in Europe, it also defies convention with its modern art and sculptures. 

Attractions: Grand Canal, Piazza san Marco, Doge’s Palace, Saint Mark’s Basilica

Also Read - Ultimate Guide for Best Things to Do in Italy

5. Riga, Latvia

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With a centuries-old center and a modern infrastructure, the city of Riga is a perfect amalgamation of tradition and modernity. Riga is the capital of Latvia, a little beautiful country in the northern part of Europe overlooking the Baltic Sea. 

While the pedestrian-only Old Town of Riga, with its numerous restaurants, bars, and clubs provides an ideal setting for the youngsters, there are a plethora of medieval churches and museums that are must-visit for the people on a historical tour of Europe.

Popular: House of Blackheads, Vecriga, Freedom Monument, St. Peter’s Church

6. Bergen, Norway

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Perched on the south-western coast of Norway, Bergen is one of the most scenic cities in Europe attracting a large number of people with its colorful wooden houses and gorgeous fjords. The incredibility of Bergen can be understood by its historic Wharf dating back to the 12th century.

The timber-floored alleys and illuminated houses adorning the Wharf make it even more spectacular. Moreover, Bergen is also known for its breathtaking evenings, pine-lined hiking trails, artistic affluence, and mouth watering seafood. So, when it comes to the most beautiful places in Europe, Bergen in Norway has a safe ranking. 

Popular: Bryggen, Fløibanen, Hanseatic Museum, and Schøtstuene, Bergenhus Fortress, Bergen Aquarium

7. Bern, Switzerland

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Bern is surely one of the most beautiful cities to live in Europe. This capital city of Switzerland has all the reasons to be so! First, it has an awesome weather; second, it has lovely people; and third, it is fortuned with the most stunning landscapes. 

The Old Town of Bern has a blend of Renaissance architectures like Bundeshaus (Federal Palace) and the medieval structures like the tower of Zytglogge, therefore listing it as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In addition to the historical features, the vicinity of Aare River provides a lot of aqua-activities to the Bern visitors. 

Popular: Bärengraben, Zytglogge, Federal Palace of Switzerland, The Rose Garden

Also Read - Places To Visit In Switzerland for Honeymoon

8. Innsbruck, Austria

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Innsbruck has been a great destination for winter sports in Europe. Surrounded by the majestic cliffs of Alps on all sides, Innsbruck is home to many imperial buildings, centuries-old resorts, and state-of-art museums. 

While winter in Innsbruck offers activities like skiing, sledding, and snowboarding, the summer season also provides plenty of opportunities for adrenaline seekers like hiking, mountaineering, biking, and sightseeing. With a romantic setting, Innsbruck is one of the best cities in Europe for couples to go on a honeymoon. 

Attractions: Goldenes Dachl, Ambras Castle, Court Church, Hofgarten, Bergiselschanze

9. Chester, England

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You must have seen Chester in pictures recently as the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle with the Queen of England went to this historic city on her first “royal trip”. The walled city of Chester has not only been a favorite place to the royal family but also to many tourists from around the world. 

Founded in the 1st century A.D. as a Roman fortress, Chester is world-famous for its historic center, Tudor-style buildings, goblin towers, and the red sandstone walls. Chester comes to life during the festivities of Christmas. With more than 70 traditional wooden chalets, the glittering Christmas market of Chester has a charisma of itself.

10. Budapest, Hungary

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Budapest tells the tale of two cities- Buda and Pest, that combine together to form this picturesque capital city of Hungary. While the Buda side comprises a hilly region, the Pest side is comparatively flat. 

Budapest is known for its semi-urban atmosphere, Gothic buildings, and winding streets. Nestled on the banks of the Danube River, Budapest also offers natural thermal baths and an exciting nightlife. The stunning architecture of the city has won it the title of “Paris of the East”. 

Popular: Buda Castle, Hungarian Parliament Building, Fisherman's Bastion, Széchenyi thermal bath

11. Santorini, Greece

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The crescent-shaped island of Santorini with its whitewashed cubic houses, cliffs rising high from the azure blue sea, and the gem-towns like Fira and Oia has long been favorite to many artists, travelers, and is still one of the most beloved places for the honeymooners. 

The picture-perfect landscapes of Santorini have inspired many artists and filmmakers and have been featured in the movies and books like Summer Lovers, The Greek Islands, Kidnapped etc. Before being popular as Santorini, the city was known as Thira or Thera. 

Waht to See: Akrotiri, Imerovigli, Red beach, Ancient Thira

Also Read - Most Beautiful Beaches in Greece

12. Bruges, Belgium

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With a jaw-dropping canal system, medieval architecture, and gorgeous landscapes, Bruges is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Europe. Popularly known as the “Venice of the North”, Bruges was an unknown city and an undiscovered gem until it was featured in some famous movies. 

The city was once governed by the Vikings and the Franks and you can still see their inheritance in the city. Bruges witnesses a huge crowd during the art and music festivals organized here. 

What to See: Markt, Belfry of Bruges, Basilica of the Holy Blood, Burg Square

13. Kotor, Montenegro

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There are some beautiful hidden cities in Europe and one of these is Kotor in Montenegro. Kotor, the coastal gem of Montenegro, shares a secluded place in the Gulf of Kotor. The postcard-perfect surroundings of Kotor are home to the 12th and 14-century architecture. 

There are narrow winding streets throughout the city, a walk through which you can witness the old Roman buildings and monuments. At the heart of Kotor, the Cathedral of Saint Tryphon stands as the symbol of the city’s medieval past. Kotor is engaged in all kinds of festivities and carnivals all year round. 

Popular Destinations: Kotor Cathedral, Lovćen, Our Lady of the Rocks, Cats Museum

14. Reykjavik, Iceland

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Located in the south-western part of Iceland, Reykjavik is known as the northernmost capital of the world. Reykjavik is the most populous city in Iceland. From interactive museums to geothermal spas and entertainment venues, Reykjavik has something for every kind traveler. 

The highlight of Reykjavik is the National and Saga museums that unfold the rich history of the Viking period. The city is also blessed with the natural wonders like the Golden Circle, Blue Lagoon Spa, and enchanting Northern Lights. 

Attractions: Hallgrímskirkja, Perlan, The Sun Voyager, Icelandic Phallological Museum

15. Zakopane, Poland

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Zakopane comes in those beautiful small cities in Europe that provide an escape from all the chaos of modern life and soothes your mind with its tranquil surroundings. Nestled in the Tatra Mountains in Poland, Zakopane is a perfect destination for the adventure-lovers. 

The city provides plenty of opportunities like hiking, biking, skiing, climbing and more in winter and summer. The dramatic views of the lakes and hills offered by the cable car ride and the wooden chalets dotting its scenery make every visitor stay a little longer in Zakopane.

Famous Spots: Gubałówka, Kasprowy Wierch, Morskie Oko, Tatra National Park

16. Istanbul, Turkey

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Finally, I would like to end this list of beautiful cities in Europe by mentioning the city that has influenced the world with its cultural wealth and Byzantine minarets. Istanbul is one of the most-visited cities in the world and this is where you can see a perfect mix of Asian and European cultures. 

This Turkish city is home to the Roman-era Hippodrome where the ancient chariot races were organized. The mosaics found on the walls of Istanbul’s mosques and the Ottoman-era landmarks can leave anyone awestruck. 

Popular Destinations: Hagia Sophia, Bosporus, Sultan Ahmed Mosque, Topkapi Palace

What are you looking for on your European vacation? Pristine beaches, majestic mountains, or perhaps, both? These beautiful cities in Europe will fulfill all your desires! What’s on your list then?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

After five years of her teaching career, Shraddhanvita decided to make 'travel' her passion. For her 'a rolling stone does gather moss' ...

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