Europe is one of the friendliest, interesting, cultured, historic and exciting continents on the planet. There are so many beautiful European cities to visit that deciding where to go next is never easy.
You could pick one of the most famous cities, such as Paris, London or Berlin. But these cities, whilst historical, cosmopolitan and bustling with things to do, aren’t necessarily always the most beautiful.
Indeed, to find Europe’s most gorgeous cities, it is often the case that you need to wander off the beaten track a little bit and do a degree of digging.
Or, you could simply save yourself some time and check out our list of 10 beautiful European cities that you should definitely visit!
1. Perth, Scotland
We’ve all heard of Glasgow and Edinburgh, but Perth is Scotland’s newest city (since 2012). Despite its newness, Perth was actually the original capital of Scotland, and as such can claim to be an ancient city that perches itself lovingly next to the tranquil River Tay.
Perth is a picaresque city that is quieter than most. You can stroll in the park, check out the archaic buildings, before taking in some music at the Perth Concert hall. Sounds like heaven!
2. Cadiz, Spain
Madrid and Barcelona think they’ve got Spain covered, and whilst most tourists do tend to flock there, Cadiz is the hidden gem that actually has more to offer.
This Spanish city is actually rumoured to be the oldest in Europe, and it’s also the nation’s most densely populated. Thriving with history and striking architecture, it offers warren-like streets for you to explore and get lost in. The Greeks and Romans had their vacation here, whilst it was also said to be a favourite of Salvador Dali. Get on it.
3. Tartu, Estonia
Estonia’s capital city, Tallinn, is blighted by drunk stag and hen parties, with wild tourists from England flocking over there to have a “mad one.”
So if you’re looking for somewhere more beautiful in Estonia, Tartu is the city to hit. It’s a cultured city that is one for the intellectuals, and it offers a more sedate but also more interesting nightlife that is coupled with its theatres, old cinemas and art galleries. It is also home to Estonia’s oldest University.
4. Seville, Spain
Spain is a miracle of beautiful cities, and Seville simply has to go on our list. The 19th century romantic poet Lord Byron once said of it: “Seville is a pleasant city, famous for oranges and women.”
We couldn’t have put it much better ourselves, except that we would add, there is much more to it than oranges and women. There is heat – lots of heat – history, architecture, theatre, opera, life, laughter, beauty, Andalusian promise. Seville is a gorgeous city that has to be experienced to be believed, and it is also a mecca for bullfighting (If that is your thing. If not, you may want to reconsider).
5. Porto, Portugal
The capital Lisbon might have all the parties, but Porto has the beauty. It also has charm, creativity and a port!
Indeed, Porto is brimming with cultural things to do and is one of the most aesthetically pleasing of all the old European cities, where glory seems to be fading. But fading glory is beautiful, right? Like an ageing Hollywood actress who still knows how to wow a crowd, Porto excels when it comes to vintage delights.
6. Turin, Italy
Many folk tend to be put off visiting Turin, because its located in the north of Italy, which we commonly associate with industry and workmanlike commerce.
But Turin is actually more beautiful than Milan, and has a food and drink scene that is quite possibly the best the country has to offer. Kitsch and very “in”, Turin is a mine of rich, largely undiscovered beauty. There are museums here, as well as historical and pop landmarks – for example, scenes from the classic 60’s movie The Italian Job were filmed here.
7. Gothenburg, Sweden
One of the traits we associate with beauty is friendliness, and Gothenburg certainly has a lot of that. It’s also a cool and trendy city too, and comes with a highly recommended cultural scene that is as diverse as it is hip.
Things to see in Gothenburg include a districted forged 90% out of wood, the Haga district, as well as the Lisberg amusement park, which is actually the biggest theme park in Scandinavia.
8. Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Perhaps a rare one on this list, Sarajevo is a capital city. Because of where it lies – on the border of central and southern Europe, as well as right in the heart of where the Slavic, Latin and Balkan worlds converge – Sarajevo is a cultural mix-n-mash. Set against the backdrop of the mountains and forests, it is also achingly beautiful.
Sure, Sarajevo was a dangerous place on the nineties, but it is actually nowadays one of Europe’s safest cities. The cafes are thriving, and there are plenty of things to do. High in tempo, rich in diversity, Sarajevo should be on your list of top ten European cities to visit.
9. Zagreb, Croatia
Another capital city here, Zagreb has just as much to offer as its more popular counterparts, Split and Dubrovnik – if not more so. Whilst Dubrovnik has the party atmosphere, Zagreb has the points of interest. From bustling markets to archaic 18th century buildings, Zagreb is also accessible to the coast.
And for history buffs, you might be interested to read that Zagreb is over a thousand years old and still has its cobbled streets. Theatres, restaurants, bars and museums mean that you’ll never be short of things to do here.
10. Oslo, Norway
Norway might be well known for its fjords, but its cities can offer a bit of drama too. Oslo is typical of a modern Scandinavian city, and offers cleanliness and beauty. It also has a stunning harbour, and an awesome midnight sun that will perhaps be the most striking thing you’ll ever see.
By day, it offers theatres, cafes and restaurants, and if you climb onto of the roof of the Opera House, you get a panoramic view of the whole city. Gorgeous.