To be one of the most beautiful cities in Europe is a pretty subjective, but there is no shortage of contenders. We’ve spent years traveling around Europe exploring its historic cities and charming towns. The continent continues to draw us back to explore more and deeper each time.
Europe has us hooked. We love Europe for architecture, art, piazzas, cafes, castles, history, and ruins. European air. Cameron and I have had many remarkable moments on the small continent.
After visiting almost every country in Europe we decided to share a few of our favorite towns and cities. These are the cities that we have traveled to personally and consider the most beautiful.
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The Most Beautiful Cities in Europe
Florence, Italy Beautiful Cities in Europe
Florence, Firenze, is the capital of Tuscany and a highlight of any trip around Italy and one of the best places to visit in Europe. You have to add this city to your Italy itinerary if it’s not already. The city is famous for its world-class cuisine, museums, works of art, and surrounding countryside. The architecture in Florence pulls you in and begs for you to get lost in its historic heart. Florence is easily the most beautiful city in Northern Italy and will enchant any visitor.
History nuts will go nuts as Florence is known for being the birthplace of the Renaissance period and packed full of treasures. Say “hello” to David! When you walk the narrow cobbled stone streets it appears as if little has changed over the centuries with marble basilicas, dark chapels, gas lanterns, and enchanting frescos. You really have the opportunity to get lost in time. There are so many things to do in Florence you could spend a month here and never get bored.
Florence Must-See: The Duomo Santa Maria del Fiore is the most beautiful cathedral in Italy.
Prague, Czech Republic
A strong argument could be made for Prague as the most beautiful city in Europe and the world for that matter. The Czech capital is full of old buildings, churches, medieval bridges, and markets. With a bustling nightlife full of jazz, cocktail bars, and clubs it’s easy to see why Prague draws in millions of tourists a year.
Prague Must Do: Walk the Charles Bridge at sunrise before the hordes of tourists arrive.
Bruges is a town in Northern Belgium and is a picture-perfect European town to visit. I visited once on a day trip from Brussels, but I consistently think back to it as one of the best cities to visit in Europe. It was a stark contrast to dirty Brussels.
The best way to get around is to rent a bicycle. On a bike, you can explore the charming historic houses and canals; if it’s a nice day, you can easily take a boat tour through the canals or venture to the Koeleweimolen and Sint-Janshuismolen mills windmills. My favorite thing to do in Bruges is a tour at the Half Moon Brewery to sip some local brew!
Bruges Must Do: Learn the history of fries at the Frietmuseum. Yes, there is actually a fry museum here.
Oia, Santorini, Greece
Just about everyone has heard of the beautiful Greek island of Santorini. The famous town of Oia is filled with whitewashed buildings topped by vivid blue roofs, all set on a cliff that overlooks the stunning Mediterranean sea. What’s not to love? The town is easily the most picturesque of all of Greece and has been seen in photos worldwide.
Oia is set on a crescent-shaped clifftop that provides expansive views of the calm sea and volcanic center of Santorini. Most notable are the stunning sunsets that occur almost every day since the island has only a few cloudy days a year. It’s beloved by both Greeks and tourists alike, so be prepared for a crowded experience in the summer months, but don’t worry, there are plenty of things to do in Santorini.
Santorini Must Do: Walk down the neverending stairs to Amoudi Bay for a delicious meal and dip in the sea.
Rovinj, Croatia Beautiful Cities in Europe
It’s a mighty hard decision to pick the most beautiful city in Croatia, but Rovinj may take the cake. It should be a top choice when you are wondering where to go in Croatia. The colorful seaside town is like the bigger cousin to the Cinque Terre in Italy and makes Dubrovnik look like a plain Jane. Not to mention it attracts far fewer tourists than Dubrovnik, especially in the shoulder seasons.
Visitors should head to the old town of Rovinj, which is small and walkable. The Church of St. Euphemia is well worth visiting and free to the public. The real charm of Rovinj lies in its cobbled alleyways, ambiance, coastal air, and boutique stores.
Rovinj Must do: Have a coffee at Brasserie Adriatic for great views and posh vibes at an affordable price.
Budapest is on many lists as one of the beautiful cities in Europe and is a popular backpacker spot. It’s been nicknamed the “Paris of the East” because of its beautiful setting and unique architecture. The capital of Hungary is safe, youthful, and unlike anywhere else in Europe.
The nightlife scene in this city is booming with its unique ruin bars. Ruin bars are housed in abandoned buildings that date back to WWII and are a must-see even if you aren’t into bars. Budapest is also well known for its natural thermal baths, which you can find around the city.
Budapest Must do: Hit up Szimpla Kert - a famous ruin bar in Budapest.
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