Enjoy our list of the most beautiful cities in Europe that have actually been to. This is not someone else’s opinion, these are the best European cities that we have visited personally in real life. We’ve seen and experienced all of these cities firsthand. That way we can give you an honest opinion of what we think the prettiest cities in Europe are. We did not pick cities off a press release nor did we copy from another list on the Internet so let us know if you agree in the comments once you are finished!
Best Cities in Europe
There are some European cities that didn’t make the list but we are constantly updating this list each time we visit a new European destination. It can be difficult to narrow down which are the best cities in Europe to visit on beauty alone.
Most European cities have done an amazing job preserving their buildings and history which plays such a big part in determining where they place on this list. Want more information on European Capital Cities? Check out 14 Best European Capital Cities To Visit
We most certainly haven’t seen all of Europe, but we wanted to do a round-up of Europe’s most beautiful cities….that we’ve seen so far. So without further adieu, enjoy our photos and memories of the most beautiful cities in Europe to visit… according to us!
1. Paris, France
Paris is often considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It may seem cliché, but will always be the most beautiful city in Europe to us. No matter how many other cities we see, we still come back to the City of Lights and gaze upon it with wonder and awe. We never tire of seeing different views of the Eiffel Tower an going up for a champagne toast is one for the bucket list.
Walking through the city streets at night is one of our favorite things to do and each time we visit Paris, we are mesmerized by seeing the Eiffel Tower twinkle in the night. With each visit to one of the most famous cities in the world, we find more art galleries to explore and we always stumble upon a quiet corner to have a romantic escape. It is the cornerstone of what makes this city great.
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2. Copenhagen, Denmark
Copenhagen holds a special place in our hearts. This enchanting city is a treat to explore. With Tivoli Gardens, Nyhavn, The Little Mermaid, and an endless stream of canals, Copenhagen definitely deserves to be named one of Europe’s most beautiful cities. It is like a fairytale to walk around.
Nyhavn is probably the most scenic cityscape in all of the Scandinavian cities we visited. This waterfront canal is located in the Old Town and is a must see when visiting Copenhagen. 17th-century townhouses line the canal filled with historic sailboats. What makes these townhouses so special is the fact that they are painted in bright colors.
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3. Venice, Italy
Venice is one of the best European cities to visit as long as you don’t go on a cruise. Traveling independently and staying overnight in the city is an amazing experience. Even though it is known for its canals, getting lost in its maze of cobblestone streets and back alleys is part of the fun of visiting this charming city.
Many people don’t love Venice, but we think it is because they have never stayed there long enough. We spent six days exploring Venice and it quickly because one of our favorite cities to visit in Europe. We would watch cruise lines and bus tours come in for a day and zip right back out before they had a chance to really explore Venice.
Taking boat trips through the canals created a picture-perfect experience and enjoying quiet drinks on a bistro terrace felt like a dream. See what it’s like to see Venice by Private Water Taxi, it was our favorite tour we’ve ever taken.
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4. Budapest, Hungary
Budapest is probably the most beautiful city in Europe that’s on the water. Walking over the chain bridge to witness the beauty of Buda and Pest looking back at one another across the Danube is pure perfection. hen the lights come on in Budapest, make your way down to the river and take in the splendor of the two cities.
The Hungarian Parliament shines at night overlooking the Danube River with The Széchenyi Chain Bridge reflecting in its waters making for a magical scene. Budapest at night is truly one of the prettiest cities in Europe. Budapest is surprisingly known for its thermal baths and ruin bars. These two tourist destinations are what make Budapest so unique.
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5. Florence, Italy
Florence is truly a city of art and one of the most beautiful cities to visit in Europe. With every turn you make you will run into sculptures or intricate etching in the architecture. It’s a city where you can walk slowly through its cobbled streets while enjoying each and every building you lay eyes upon.
The Duomo stands proud in the city center and endless cobblestone streets weave around allowing you to get lost and simply enjoy. See more at Florence in Photos: A City of Art Make sure to make more than a day trip out of visiting Florence, spend several to really delve into the art and culture of this gorgeous metropolis.
- Read more about Florence
6. Bern, Switzerland
Bern, Switzerland is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the political center of Switzerland. It is also the capital city of Switzerland. Bern doesn’t feel like a political hub though, this city was made for walking. The walkways of Bern are all covered making for pleasant shopping in any type of weather.
Seeing Bern from the Aare River reinforces our decision why we included it in our list of the most beautiful cities we’ve ever visited.
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7. Barcelona, Spain
The more we visit Barcelona, the more we love it. At first, we weren’t fans of the works of Gaudi, but as we got to know him a bit more, we fell in love with his innovative, colorful and playful architecture. In fact, the works of Gaudi are not only designated as 1 UNESCO World Heritage Site but there are 9 UNESCO-designated sites in Barcelona alone! 7 of which belong to Anotnie Gaudi himself.
With a beautiful waterfront, quiet parks, downtown walking streets, and bustling markets, Barcelona is definitely up there as one of the most beautiful and vibrant cities we’ve visited in Europe.
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8. Bergen, Norway
We think Bergen Norway is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe due to its natural beauty. Surrounded by mountains, it is truly picture-perfect. the historic Bryggen Area makes for a picturesque waterfront. It may not be the obvious Norwegian city to visit in Europe (most people naturally think of Oslo first) but Bergen is certainly one for the bucket list.
The first place you should visit in Bergen is Bryggen, the fairytale village of historic wooden houses lining the waterfront. This historic quarter of Bergen is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and with good reason. Bergen is surrounded by 7 mountains, picture-perfect views and old-world architecture. Make sure to take the cable car to the top of Mount Fløyen for amazing views of the city. When you see Bergen, you’ll agree that it may be one of the prettiest cities in Europe.
We even named our original post about Bergina: Things to do in Norway’s Most Beautiful City
9. Brussels, Belgium
Brussels was one of the first European cities we’ve ever visited and I will never forget the feeling we had when we finally found the square. We had been walking the city streets and rounded a corner to see the famous Old Town Square. And the sight took our breath away. We visited it again a couple of years ago and the feeling did not fade.
We still think that the Square of Brussels is one of the most beautiful squares in all of Europe. Its art nouveau buildings are some of the best in Europe. In fact, Horta Hotel Tassa was the first building in Europe constructed in the Art Nouveau style. It’s an absolutely beautiful city filled with history and charm. Brussels, Belgium is a charming city to visit, but it is the old town square that put it near the top of our favourite of the beautiful cities in Europe.
Often people think Bruges is one of the most beautiful European cities. We haven’t been to Bruges yet, but we thought we’d sneak it in after Brussels as a hidden European city to visit on this list (you won’t see it in the table of contents until we’ve visited) But we have had people write articles about Bruges for us, we did see the movie “In Bruges” and we’ve done a lot of research. When we go back to Europe next, this town will be one of our first stops. Check it out and see what you think!
10. Tallinn, Estonia
We only managed to pop over to Estonia for a day, but I am so happy that the city we visited was beautiful Tallinn. If you are doing a Scandinavia tour, Tallinn is definitely one of the prettiest cities to visit (in northern Europe at least)on the list.
Tallinn was surprising. We didn’t really know what to expect when visiting Estonia, but what an interesting country with a very rich history. We can’t wait to go back and see more! With its medieval square, high lookouts and ancient wall, it has everything you need to see when visiting a European City. If you are traveling through Scandinavia, make sure to add Estonia to your list.
11. Rome, Italy
Rome made the list of beautiful cities to visit in Europe because of the way the ancient ruins weave through modern architecture. Rome is a city that has left Roman history intact. They have incorporated the old Roman architecture into the plans of the city. Modern buildings spring up between ancient monuments and we love it!
The entire old city center of Rome is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Witnessing places like the Colosseum, Pantheon and St. Peter’s Basilica is on many a traveler’s bucket list. It is one awe-inspiring sight after another when you visit this European City. So add Rome to your list of must visit cities in Europe, you won’t be disappointed. Rent or Buy Roman Holiday starring Audrey Hepburn to get into your Rome travel mood.
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12. Prague, Czech Republic
We had often heard that Prague, Czech Republic (Czechia) was a beautiful city in Europe, and when we first laid eyes on her, she didn’t disappoint. Yes, it is busy and crowded, but if you step out of the main trail, you’ll find quiet spots to grab a bite or a pint. Like any cities in Europe, the river offers the most beautiful views. The Prague Castle stands proud overhead as the Charles Bridge spans the lovely Vltava River.
If you wake up early and walk around the city, you will have it all to yourself. The old town square is one of the prettiest in Europe and when you have it all to yourself, it is truly breathtaking. Dave and I were amazed to see that people didn’t really get started until well after 9:00 am giving us plenty of time to enjoy the beautiful architecture in private. See our visit: Mongolia Pictures from the Russian Border to the Gobi Desert
Did you know that the Czech Republic is now called Czechia? Read more at 20 of The Best Things to do in Prague, Czechia
13. Istanbul, Turkey
When gazing upon the city of Istanbul from our rooftop terrace at night, it is set afire with light. Istanbul is a city with two personalities. One foot in the West with a European flair and the other foot in the East of Asia. Spanning two continents it is also Europe’s largest city. It is the Eastern influence that makes this city so beautiful.
Mosques dot the cityscape as spires peek out from above the skyline. The Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia do not disappoint and the Old City is the perfect place to get lost in time. Take a stroll through the Grand Baazar or go up to the top of Galata Tower for the best views of the city.
Visiting Istanbul is a rich cultural experience where East meets West. It’s an enormous city yet it is easy to walk and navigate. If you can make it up the Galata Tower to witness it from above, make sure that you do. You’ll understand why we say it is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.
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14. London, England
I know we will probably get some flack for putting London in as one of our most beautiful cities in europe, but we find it to be stunning. Our favorite part of London was hanging out by the river. With Tower Bridge, We took water taxis and ferries and took in the beauty of the city from the water. It is filled with memorable and notable architecture. It’s colorful, massive, and beautiful. Do you agree?
- Read more about London
15. Dublin, Ireland
It took me a while to add Dublin to my list of beautiful cities. When I first started compiling this, I only thought of skylines and places that took my breath away. But after visiting Dublin on several different occasions, I realize that it isn’t just about a skyline of skyscrapers that makes a city beautiful, it’s the culture and people. The River Liffey snakes through the heart of the city and when going for a walk, one can really take in its charm.
Dublin has quiet parks for getaways, castles to explore and an excellent put scene. The more we travel to it, the more beautiful it becomes.
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16. Amsterdam, Netherlands
Dave and I visited Amsterdam before our travel blogging careers, but it left an impression. Known as the Venice of the North, Amsterdam truly is a city of picturesque canals. The colorful waterways make it one of the prettiest cities in Europe and they are perfect for a stroll making it a perfect walking city. Of course, you can ride a bicycle too! We feel a kinship with Amsterdam’s Liberal values. Being Canadian, we have a lot in common with the people of the Netherlands.
- Read more about Amsterdam
17. Stockholm, Sweden
Stockholm was one of our favorite cities in Scandinavia. The capital city of Sweden is located on the Baltic Sea and the colorful buildings of the old town line the waterfront taking your breath away.
What we love about Scandinavian towns is how there are amusement parks right in the center of the city and Stockholm is no exception with its grounds on the river. This northern city is connected with ferries taking visitors to 14 different islands. You won’t forget your visit Stockholm, it’s one of the best tourist destinations in northern Europe.
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Located on the Adriatic Sea, Dubrovnik is surrounded by crystal clear waters and picturesque beaches that make it a truly beautiful place to visit. The city is also home to a number of charming islands, including the island of Lokrum, which is home to a beautiful botanical garden and a monastery that dates back to the 12th century.
One of the main things that make Dubrovnik so beautiful is its Old Town, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Old Town is surrounded by a medieval wall that was built in the 13th century and is filled with narrow streets, charming squares, and beautiful buildings that are a testament to the city’s rich history.
The Old Town is also home to a number of important landmarks, including the Dubrovnik Cathedral, the Rector’s Palace, and the Sponza Palace. Dubrovnik was also used as a filming location for Game of Thrones. Dubrovnik’s old city was used extensively for Kings Landing since season two and there are plenty of places that you will recognize.
19. Reykjavik, Iceland
Visiting Iceland was a dream come true and its capital city of Reykjavik is beautiful. Reykjavik is one of the smaller cities on our list, but it packs a punch. Like many of Europe’s beautiful cities, Reykjavik has colorful buildings lining the waterfront, pedestrian avenues, and lots of shopping, dining, and nightlife. It is a city that is quintessentially Nordic and when visiting Iceland deserves a couple of days to explore.
Like many European Cities to visit on this list, Iceland was used as a filming location for Game of Thrones. Even though Reykjavik wasn’t used, the crew stayed here and many of the surrounding national parks, glaciers and lagoons were used in the popular series. We were huges Game of Thrones fans and visited many destination around the world. Check out this Game of Thrones Tour of Northern Ireland that recreates some of the scenes shot in Iceland.
- Read more about Iceland
20. Bologna, Italy
When we found out we were spending three weeks in Bologna, we were excited. But we didn’t know much about it. It turns out, that Bologna should be added to everyone’s Italian itinerary. Bologna is one of the most underrate cities to visit in Europe and that is a good thing. It’s not as crowded as Rome or Venice, but there is just as much history, amazing food and architecture.
Bologna has a more local vibe and as you can see it’s absolutely stunning. Take a stroll through the old city and its cobblestone streets as you find one hidden gem after another. Bologna even has the highest leaning tower in all of Italy and when you walk up it, you’ll have amazing views of the city. Move over Pisa, this leaning tower is the real deal. (note, we took this photo from the top of Bologna’s leaning tower.)
- Read more about Bologna
21. Berlin, Germany
Having only been to Berlin once, we debated if we were allowed to include it in our list of beautiful cities. It’s been filled with so much graffiti over the years, instead of fighting it, it has embraced it. It has turned vandalism into a work of art. The architecture of Berlin is all over the place with a mix of buildings that clash with one another. And that is what makes Berlin Beautiful.
Not only is it beautiful, but Berlin is also one of the hippest cities to visit in Europe with amazing nightlife, cool neighborhoods and funky cafes. Read more: The Best Places to Visit in Berlin, Germany
22. Zurich Switzerland
The beautiful European city of Zurich is a dream destination. The picturesque setting on Lake Zurich and the Limmat River make for a gorgeous spot to take in the sunset and watch the beautiful people walk by. Zurich has it all with a well-preserved old town, a rich history, and incomparable wealth. Walking through the cobbled streets will take you back in time.
One of our favorite things to do in Zurich was to see it from above. Take the Felsenegg cable car up to 803 meters above sea level for breathtaking views of the city.
- Read more about Zurich
23. Vienna, Austria
We visited Vienna, Austria during the holiday season and it is second to none when it comes to Christmas Markets. The city shines with lights and festivities. There is a reason that Vienna is referred to as one of the most beautiful capital cities in Europe. From its magnificent architecture and impressive museums to its musical history and art scene, it is easy to see why Vienna is so popular.
Bundle up and drink some mulled wine while you browse the walking streets and outdoor shops. Vienna’s opera house was rebuilt after World War II and is considered one of the most glamorous in the world. Read more: The 24 Best Things to do in Vienna, Austria
24. Munich, Germany
Germany’s Bavaria surprised us. We didn’t expect to love it so much, but it is Europe’s hidden gem. Munich is a city filled with cobblestone streets that are perfect for walking in the Old Town and picturesque squares, and it’s perfect to explore by bicycle.
Just outside the city is Europe’s largest park and there are plenty of beer halls and beer gardens. Plus don’t forget the famous Glockenspiel located at Marienplatz. Read more: Best Things to do in Munich, Germany
- Read more about Bavaria
It took us three different visits to Athens before we really appreciated its beauty. The city is home to some of the most famous ancient ruins in the world, including the Acropolis, the Parthenon, and The Agora. There is nothing more breathtaking than sitting at a rooftop bar at Monastiraki Square looking at the Acropolis standing proud over the city.
There are so many places to take in views of the city with rooftop bars and patios all over Athens. One of the best places though is to take the cable car up to Lybitacus Hill for the overall best views of Athens.
A visit to Athens was on our bucket list for years. It was at a travel bloggers conference that we had our first taste of this eternal city and we have gone back a couple of times to really take in its beauty. Make sure to stay in the city center to be able to walk to all of the popular tourist attractions. It’s one of the most walkable capital cities in Europe and we love it.
Athens is also home to many beautiful parks and gardens. The National Garden is a lush oasis in the heart of the city where you can escape between viewing its impressive buildings and structures such as the Temple of Olympian Zeus, the Panathenaic Stadium, and the Syntagma Square. Whether you are interested in history, art, or just enjoying the sights and sounds of a vibrant city, Athens has something to offer you.
26. Porto, Portugal
The Medieval architecture of Porto is a lovely city located on the Douro River. Taking a tram ride through the city takes you back in time. They are designated with a heritage status for tourists to enjoy the historic transportation. When visiting Porto make sure to take a stroll through its old town beginning at the banks of the River Douro.
Taking a walk along the bustling waterfront makes for a romantic evening and don’t forget to take the funicular up for panoramic views. Lisbon may be one of the most popular cities to visit in Portugal, but Porto stole our hearts. Read more: 14 Best Things to Do in Sintra, Portugal in 2023
27. Brasov, Romania
We fell in love with Romania and while the city of Bucharest is lively and exciting, it is the area of Transylvania that stole our hearts. While Dracula’s Castle is the popular tourist attraction in the area, make sure to spend a couple of days in Brasov.
The Old Town of Brasov is filled with walking streets, medieval architecture, and gothic churches. Take a stroll through the cobblestone streets of the Old Town Square and marvel at the sights and sounds. Council Square in the city center is one of the best places to hang out in Brasov. Watch our video: Scenes from Romania
28. Lisbon, Portugal
There are so many beautiful cities in Portugal it is difficult to choose, but let’s go with the Capital City, Lisbon. Located on the Atlantic coast, the city is home to a number of impressive buildings and landmarks, including the Belem Tower overlooking the Tagus River, Jeronimos Monastery, and the Sao Jorge Castle. Besides its historic landmarks, Lisbon is also home to a number of modern structures, such as the Vasco da Gama Bridge, which is the longest bridge in Europe and offers breathtaking views of the city and the surrounding area.
Make sure to go to the Alfama neighborhood to wander its narrow streets, colorful houses, and lively atmosphere. The Baixa neighborhood, on the other hand, is a more modern neighborhood that is known for its wide boulevards and elegant buildings.
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29. Seville, Spain
We popped into Seville on a road trip through Spain and Italy years ago. That was when we traveled to check off a lot of places at once and we wish we stayed longer! Something we love about European cities is how they don’t change the historic parts of towns. If you’ve visited them before, they are just as beautiful as they are today, and the old town of Seville is no exception
People have taken note of Seville all over again thanks to Game of Thrones who used this location for the city of Mareen and locations in Dorne. It’s no wonder, Seville is one of the most beautiful places in Europe! See more Game of Thrones filming locations around the world at Game of Thrones Filming Locations You Can Visit in Real Life
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30. Helsinki, Finland
Helsinki was our final stop on our Scandinavian tour and like all the cities we visited in Northern Europe, it too was beautiful! The Helsinki Cathedral is the center point of the city towering over the colorful buildings lining the waterfront.
We love how Scandinavians always have swimming pools right in the heart of the city. Helsinki has a prominent swimming hole at the canal. The water is so clean! Like so many cities we love, there are walking streets, shopping and plenty of bistros and cafes.
31. Basel Switzerland
Switzerland has one beautiful city after another and we couldn’t end our beautiful cities in Europe list without including our favorite city in Switzerland, Basel. Located on the Rhine River, Basel it has the perfect blend of old and new. The history of the Old Town blends beautifully with the contemporary architectural designs throughout the city. The cultural capital of Switzerland has a magnificent Old Town.
Take a tour of The Altstadt (Old City) to see the amazing Basel Munster Cathedral which captures the soul of the city through its twin towers and red sandstone walls. The Rhine River cuts through the city center and there is no better way to take in the views of the city than by either taking a boat tour, or swimming in the river. (you heard me correctly, one of the top things to do in Basel is to swim in the River Rhine.
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I know that Edinburgh is another beautiful city in Europe. Do you think it deserves to make the list?
32. Edinburgh, Scotland
Edinburgh is built atop a series of extinct volcanoes and rocky crags, providing panoramic views of the surrounding area. The Old Town is a particularly picturesque area, with its winding medieval cobblestone streets and towering castles and churches. The Royal Mile is a popular tourist destination that runs from High Street section of Old Town down. It is the oldest section of the city. The Royal Mile area itself is actually 5 separate streets within the Old Town and it is worth it to explore all of them
One of the most iconic landmarks in Edinburgh is Edinburgh Castle, a medieval fortress perched atop a volcanic rock and offering breathtaking views of the city. The castle is home to the Scottish Crown Jewels and the Stone of Destiny, a powerful symbol of the country’s royal heritage.
The Scott Monument, a towering Victorian Gothic monument, is a popular attraction and offers panoramic views of this charmoing city. The city’s many churches and cathedrals, including St. Giles Cathedral and Greyfriars Kirk, are also beautiful examples of architecture.
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33. Kyiv, Ukraine
Sadly, Kyiv and Ukraine are suffering from Russia’s invasion so travel here is not happening in 2023 but we want to let the people know that they are in our hearts and minds. This is a beautiful city in Europe that we hope will survive and we hope the war ends soon so that the people of Ukraine can have their lives back. Read more about Kyiv at Unusual Things to Do in Kyiv, Ukraine
We traveled to Kyiv while taking part in the Mongol Rally. It was one of the best cities we stopped in during our overland journey from England to Mongolia. It’s filled with Orthodox Churches and cathedrals, wide avenues, and lovely ornate buildings all stemming out from Independence Square. During the Mongol Rally, we went through Ukraine and Russia, and while we are infuriated with Putin
34. San Marino
San Marino is a city and an independent republic in the middle of Italy. It sits high on a hill overlooking possibly the most beautiful view we’ve ever seen from a city. It overlooks the Italian Apennines, rivaling the beauty of Tuscany. San Marino is the oldest surviving sovereign state in the world and it’s known as the Serene Republic. Serene it is indeed. Get Your Complete Guide to World Heritage Sites
35. Oia, Santorini – Greece
I debated whether to put Oia, Santorini into this post or not. Is it a city or is it a destination? But considering it is one of the prettiest places we have ever been in our lives, we couldn’t leave our beautiful cities to visit in Europe list without mentioning this urban center located on a small island.
I don’t think there is a more beautiful spot on earth than overlooking the Caldera from the whitewashed buildings of Oia. Sure, Santorini was created to be a tourist destination, but it ended up being a masterpiece. So, we end with one of the top bucket list destinations in Europe and will let you debate whether it should be on our list or not.
- Read more about Santorini
And these are the most beautiful cities in Europe according to Dave and Deb. Europe is such a vast continent. It may be small in area, but it is huge in population and urban centers. From Russia to Greece or Northern Europe’s Scandinavia countries to Istanbul straddling two continents, there are so many cities to visit in Europe it will take a lifetime to see them all. But we are going to do our best!
Do you have any additions to our beautiful cities to visit in Europe? Do you think some of our suggestions are downright crazy? We want to know!
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