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37 Most Beautiful Cities in Europe: Hidden Gems and Classics

When you think of the most beautiful cities in Europe I imagine that Paris, Rome, Venice, Prague etc all come to mind. And they are absolutely beautiful cities. But Europe has so many beautiful cities that are not as well known but just as stunning.

As a travel blogger I am lucky enough to travel more frequently than the average person – and to have the opportunity to visit some of the prettiest cities in Europe that even I hadn’t heard of before my trip.

So here are my 37 Most Beautiful Cities in Europe that may not be the first which come to mind as well as some of the classics.

37 Most Beautiful Cities in Europe

1. Karlovy Vary – Czech Republic

The Karlovy Vary region is the second smallest in the Czech Republic. It is filled with natural beauty, castles, chateaus and, best of all, its famous hot and cold mineral springs.

Czech Spa
Beautiful Karlovy Vary

Karlovy Vary is the most famous spa town in the Czech Republic. The town has been treating visitors for more than 650 years.

However, it was in the 18th century that the town began to develop and become known across Europe. In addition to its famous Springs, Karlovy Vary Czech itself is very picturesque and also the home of one of the world’s leading film festivals in July each year.

There are 79 different Karlovy Vary Hot Springs. Fourteen of these are currently used for drinking Czech republic mineral water. The hottest spring is 72 degrees.

karlovy vary spa

Depending on your ailment/s your doctor will prescribe you to “take” the waters from different springs at different times. Each hot spring has its own unique properties.

The Karlovy Vary thermal water is unique in its physical and chemical properties. Essentially the waters here contain larger amounts of major and minor mineral elements than the water you drink at home.

Find out more about Karlovy Vary and the other towns in the Karlovy Vary region in my post on Czech Spa Towns and the beautiful region of South Moravia in the Czech Republic.

2. Riga – Latvia

Lovely Riga is the capital of Latvia and the biggest city in the Baltics. It is a wonderful mix of charming old Europe and modern innovations. The Riga Old Town is an extremely photogenic mix of art nouveau buildings and tiny cobblestone streets, all without traffic.

View from Hotel Le Chevalier of Riga old town

Unlike some other European cities, once you had outside of the old town the beauty of Riga continues. Riga has an art nouveau district filled with beautiful buildings and a fantastic art nouveau museum.

The Pardaugava district is full of colourful wooden houses. Kipsala is a small and exclusive island close to the old town of Riga that has some fantastic views.

art nouveau buildings in Riga most beautiful cities in Europe
View of Riga from St Peter’s Church

And don’t miss a canal tour around Riga’s lovely city canal and Daugava River. It is a particularly nice way to see the Old Town and the beautiful wooden houses of Kipsala.

Find out more about Riga in my post on 23 Things to do in Riga.

3. Saint Antonin Noble Val – France

If you are looking for the quintessential French countryside town Saint Antonin Noble Val is it. This beautiful town has been featured in several films including Charlotte Gray and The Hundred-Foot Journey.

Saint Antonin Noble Val is situated on the Aveyron river – don’t miss the beautiful bridge with its reflection in the river. Cate Blanchette rode across this in Charlotte Grey.

st antonin noble val

The centre of Saint Antonin Noble Val was the home of the town’s most wealthy residents. In medieval times a town was the safest place to live – and within it, the safest place was the centre as anyone who wanted to invade would start with those on the edges.

saint antonin noble val

Therefore the tallest and most decadent houses are in the middle of the city – and these are the streets where the famous St Antonin Sunday Market is held. This is a good place to start exploring Saint Antonin Noble Val.

Find out more about Saint Antonin Noble Val in my complete post and about the stunning region in which it is situated in my post on Tarn et Garonne.

4. Verbier – Switzerland

From the insanely beautiful and green of the Swiss Alps to the flower baskets throughout the village to Swiss cows against stunning backdrops the Verbier summer is filled with fantastic and exciting things to do as well as great photo opportunities.

You’ll hear the swiss cows!

Verbier is the height of fabulous skiing action in the winter – but to me it is at its most beautiful in the height of summer. Plus this Swiss town offers a huge amount of fantastic things to do that are all about summer.

This includes seeing the sunrise from Mont Fort (a strictly summer activity), hiking up to the top of Pierre Avoi, visiting the Verbier 3D sculpture park and seeing the Swiss cows up high on the mountains.

The shot which went onto my Instagram Account

Two other fantastic activities that can be done whether it is sun or snow is paragliding over the Alps and to drinks some rather delicious Swiss wine.

Find out more about Verbier in my posts about how to experience the best of the Verbier Summer and the best things to do in Verbier.

5. Graz – Austria

Who needs Vienna? Lovely Graz is the second biggest city in Austria and for me much cuter than its older sibling. It is easy to see why Graz Austria was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999.


Add to that its 2011 nomination as a City of Design and you can see why it wasn’t difficult to build a lengthy list of things to do in Graz.

However, the highlights don’t stop in the lovely Graz old town. Within a 10-15 minute drive of Graz are several photo-friendly and fantastic places to visit.

View from the Frieblick Tagescafe

From the world’s longest indoor slide to classic castles to rotating glass lifts to sculpture parks Graz and its surrounds will give you a holiday to remember.

Check out my 23 fantastic things to do in Graz and nearby as well as my Austria Itinerary.

6. Santiago de Compostela – Spain

For centuries, thousands of pilgrims have travelled on St. James’ Way every year, finally reaching the capital of Galicia and entering the iconic Cathedral. According to tradition, this is the burial place of the relics of James the Apostle, discovered in the 9th century.

santiago de compostela view of cathedral from park

But Santiago de Compostela is very much a living city, with other attractions for travellers, pilgrim or not: countless restaurants and bars where you can enjoy the delicious seafood of Galicia, a UNESCO World Heritage old town centre, daring contemporary art… There’s plenty to do in this city which combines history with a younger modern side.

santiago de compostela cathedral

Enjoy the amazing local octopus and other seafood delights, head to the Sunday mass which pays special tribute to the pilgrims every week and you can even walk the last couple of kilometres of the Santiago de Compostela.

7. Baden Baden – Germany

This gorgeous 2000-year-old town lies at the foothills of the wonderfully named Black Forest. Baden Baden Germany has a fantastic location for exploring the region as well as everything from, of course, spas to shopping to a palatial casino within Baden-Baden itself.

PC Baden-Baden Kur and Tourismus Gmbh

Before you head to Baden-Baden Germany do check what is on. The city is well known for the three international horse races it runs each year – as it is for its Christmas markets.

But this German town is most famous for its spas. Indeed, Baden Baden Germany has 12 hot springs and has welcomed those seeking to relax and reconnect for centuries.

Delicious cakes at Cafe Koenig

Today Baden Baden has managed to keep all of those wonderful historical elements but added in more modern spa facilities, fantastic food, modern art and much more.

Find out more about this beautiful German town in my Baden Baden Spa Guide and the best Baden Baden Tours.

8. Gaios – Greece

Gaios is the very charming and insta friendly capital of Paxos. There is a super cute pink church on the harbour in the main square and loads of cute taverns. The main square of Gaios Paxos is the centre of town.

Ice cream shop in Gaois

It is then lovely to walk along the Gaios harbourfront – home to more tavernas – and my favourite shop Koo which features loads of lovely local Greek designers. Koo Paxos is particularly good for shoes – and has super cute bathers for those on the slim side.

Gaios Paxos Greece also has cute backstreets for exploration. Bouganvillea is everywhere, colourful buildings – all the cute things you want from a small Greek town.

Stunning Gaois Harbour

Plus if you are staying in one of the Paxos villas there are 2 butchers (shut most of the afternoon so come at lunchtime or early evening) and several good small supermarkets with all you need.

I also found a nice olive oil/wine shop on the Gaios harbour and bought some great Greek wine. Many of the boat tours depart from the new harbour which is easily walkable from Gaios.

Find out more about the lovely island of Paxos Greece, Paxos Restaurants, and Beaches in Paxos in my posts.

9. San Marino – Italy (sort of)

San Marino is the oldest republic in the world and it has never been taken over by anyone. This small country of just 61 square kilometers sits on top of a hill and overlooks the Italian countryside. So it is in Italy, but it isn’t actually Italy – it is a separate republic.


San Marino is home to just 30,000 people but has its own police, its own schools and it doesn’t belong to the European Union.

A hilltop town in Europe will always be at least a base level of photogenic. San Marino then has multiple sculptures, is mostly pedestrianized with lovely paved streets, excellent use of flowers throughout the country and amazing views everywhere.


The highlight of San Marino is walking to the very top of the country and its famous three towers which date back to the 11th century.

Another way to get some fantastic views of the Italian countryside is to take the compact San Marino funicular. The funicular will bring you up into the main square of San Marino.

Read more about San Marino and nearby in my post on 14 Things to do in Rimini.

10. Valletta – Malta

Lovely Valletta is the capital city of Malta. Many head straight to the beach areas of Malta and all-inclusive hotels and miss this absolutely charming city. And due to its location, it is likely to be a nice day – indeed Malta is the sunniest city in Europe.

valletta harbour filled with boats

Valletta is best known for its fantastic grand harbour. In its small 55 hectares it has over 320 monuments, making it the most concentrated historic area in the world.

It is a grid town of small streets – and some steep hills – which are filled with beautiful old buildings, cute boutiques and some fantastic restaurants.

streets of valletta malta

11. Mostar – Bosnia

Lovely Mostar is most famous for its beautiful old bridge, Stari Most, a UNESCO listed site. Mostar is located in Bosnia Herzegovina (it’s the largest city in Herzegovina) but can also be visited as a day trip from Croatia.

mostar shops and bridge bosnia

The city’s famous bridge was originally built in the 16th century and reaches over the Neretva River. However, the bridge was destroyed during the civil war in the area in 1993. It was rebuilt and declared a UNESCO site in 2005.

This town of light coloured stones is heavily Ottoman influenced and full of market stalls, shops and restaurants.

view from the mosque in mostar bosnia

12. Stockholm – Sweden

stocklholm 2

Okay you probably know Stockholm but is it top of mind when you think about beautiful cities in Europe? Most of us think of the cuter side of beauty when we think of beautiful cities in Europe. Stockholm is a cleaner more modern type of beauty.

stockholm 1

Beautiful Stockholm consists of 14 islands and more than 50 bridges. Its old town is full of cobblestone streets and coloured buildings. And one a sunny day few cities in the world can match the beauty of Stockholm.

13. Seville – Spain

Barcelona and Madrid tend to be top of mind when it comes to Spain. However, my personal opinion is that little Seville in the south of Spain is far more attractive than the two.

plaza de espana seville spain

This atmospheric city is wonderfully relaxed yet buzzes with an undercurrent of energy. This could well be influenced by the flamenco dancing and music for which it is so well known.

pretty arch in seville

The Plaza de Espana has some of the most beautiful tiling work you will ever see and don’t miss the stunning and very photogenic Plaza de toros de la Real Maestranza de Caballería de Sevilla, home to one of the most famous bullfighting festivals in the world.

14. Kotor – Montenegro

Kotor is a coastal town in Montenegro that is situated between the majestic limestone cliffs of Mt Lovcen and the Adriatic coast. It is extremely scenic – from its location to its small streets to the wonderful views over the city as you hike up the cliff.

walls heading into kotor montenegro

The old city is a UNESCO world heritage site and was buit between the 12th and 14th centuries and its city walls have protected the 4 kms of Kotor since that time.

gated walls of kotor montenegro

Wander through the old town, check out the many cats that call Kotor home, climb up to the castle of San Giovanni or take a tour of the bay of Kotor.

15. Munich – Germany

One of Germany’s most famous cities hosts historic sites and buildings, outstanding tourist activities, green parks, castles, and more. The Bavarian city is known for castles and amazing forested surroundings (the views in winter are spectacular).

Munich Germany
Munich Germany

There seems to be a museum on every street, where you can marvel at fine art, technology, and natural history! Spires from churches and older buildings dot the skyline, rising above new homes or classic German apartment roofs. In fact, most of the inner city is car-free, making this the ultimate walking city in Germany.

Be sure to check into:

  1. The Residence Palace (especially the Antiquarium dining hall)
  2. Marienplatz
  3. Nymphenburg Palace
  4. Frauenkirche
  5. Hofbräuhaus München
Munich Germany
Munich Germany

16. Venice – Italy

Canals, waterways and bridges are a bit like good bone structures for making a city beautiful. And Venice has a lot of all three of those. Venice is actually 117 different islands that are linked by 150 canals and about 400 bridges or pieces of pavement.

Gondola in venice

Venice is literally built on water. The base of its buildings go deep into the ground. As the soil is so water logged there is no oxygen in it and thus no decay.

Venice and its delights are best explored on foot or by water. The Piazza San Marco is the centre of Venice and home to the magnificent Basilica San Marco – which also has some fantastic views of Venice (it is where I took the photo below).

View of Venice
View of Venice

Don’t miss the Rialto Bridge, the many Venetian Palaces, the Accademia Gallery and the Bridge of Sighs. Or a trip to the home of beautiful coloured glass Murano.

Doges Palazzo Venice the king of the Venetian Palaces
Doges Palazzo Venice

My personal favourite way to experience Venice is on Vaporetto Line 1. This water bus allows anyone to see Venice from the water (where it is often at its most beautiful), mingle with the locals, and really experience one of the world’s most beautiful cities.

You might enjoy my articles on Europe’s most visited cities and Europe’s most polluted cities.

17. Nuremberg – Germany

Nuremberg is the capital of a region called Franconia. It has a history dating all the way back to the Holy Roman Empire. Much of the old city is encircled by a wall built in those times.

Nuremberg Germany
Nuremberg Germany

Though the name is often historically associated with a darker time in German history – the Nuremberg Trials – it is known today as a city of immense historic architectural beauty. Here are a few of the main sites to visit:

  1. Albrecht Dürer’s House
  2. City Walls
  3. Germanisches Nationalmuseum
  4. Kaiserburg
  5. Schöner Brunnen
  6. St. Lorenz Church
  7. St. Sebaldus Church
Nuremberg germany
Nuremberg germany

18. Istanbul – Turkey

Istanbul in Turkey is literally where east meets west. This beautiful city is the perfect place to get your feet wet so to speak if you’re keen to explore the Middle East or Africa. This atmospheric city has all the magic of the Middle East and North Africa with a slightly more European feel.

The Blue Mosque in the late afternoon, a highlight of a week in Turkey

The Blue Mosque is possibly Istanbul’s most famous attraction. The mosque has six minarets or towers and several domes. It isn’t actually blue – it was named the Blue Mosque because of its beautiful interior tiles – but it is absolutely stunning.

The Fes Cafe in the Grand Bazaar

Two of top places to visit in Istanbul – The Blue Mosque and Hagia or Aya Sofya – are located on the same main square in the Istanbul neighborhood of Sultanahmet. Very convenient.

Hagia Sofya has had several lives. It began as an Orthodox Cathedral and was turned into a mosque. In 1935, Ataturk proclaimed it a museum – although it is still considered by many to be the second biggest cathedral in the world.

30 million tiny gold mosaic tiles cover the interior of the church. Yes, 30 million – that isn’t a typo. Make sure you head up the stairs to the mezzanine as it provides one of the best views of this stunning museum/church.

Both the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sofya are particularly stunning at sunset. I suggest gaining access to one of Istanbul’s many bars and restaurants with a terrace and a view and settling in for sunset.

⇒ Hagia Sophia is the number one tourist attraction in Turkey so don’t waste time standing in queues – book your Skip the line ticket for Hagia Sophia

Topkapi Palace

Topkapi Palace is one of my favorite Istanbul tourist attractions. This palace was used between the 15th and 19th centuries and apparently was a hot place to go during the Ottoman Empire.

Topkapi Palace Istanbul is stunning and filled with lots of fantastic Instagram opportunities – particularly the colorful tiles.

The Grand Bazaar, or Kapali Carsi is the largest covered market in Turkey, with over 4,000 shops. This market contains everything you could ever imagine needing.

From, of course, carpets to jewelry to lanterns to pajamas. It can be quite overwhelming. The market is 30,700 square metres and has 60 streets and is a must in any Istanbul itinerary.

19. Stuttgart – Germany

While car enthusiasts will have the Porsche and Mercedes-Benz factory tours top of their list, Stuttgart on the Neckar River is a truly beautiful old city bordering the Black Forest. Incidentally, this is also where the original cake recipe comes from.

stuttgart germany
stuttgart germany

There are dozens of castles to visit in and around the city as well.

  1. Ludwigsburg Residential Palace
  2. Solitude Palace
  3. Stuttgart Train Station
  4. Stuttgart’s Municipal Library
  5. The Old Castle
  6. Wilhelmina
stuttgart germany
stuttgart germany

20. St Petersburg – Russia

Like Venice, St Petersburg is spread across a mix of big and small islands, setting it up for being one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The city itself also has several fairytale like ornate buildings and it is also considered the cultural capital of Russia.

st petersburg russia

Perhaps the attraction for which St Petersburg is best known is the Hermitage Museum. Not only does the Hermitage contain 3 million works of art, it is also in a beautiful confection of a building and filled with stunning rooms, arches, staircases and more architectural features.

church in st petersburg russia

The beautiful cathedral at the Peter and Paul fortress would also look happily at home on the top of an elaborate cake. However, this cathedral almost looks plain next to the amazing onion-domed Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood (also a great name – Alexander 11 was assassinated on this spot).

The lovely River Neva and a series of canals are at the heart of St Petersburg and some of its most beautiful features. Stroll along the waterfronts as the sun sets and see this beautiful city from the water on a cruise.

21. Bergen – Norway

Lovely Bergen is the gateway city to Norway’s famous fjords. But it also has more than enough going on to warrant spending a couple of nights in this beautiful city.

Part of Bergen’s beauty comes from its location. Mountains and fjords surround this Norwegian city. Bergen is also known as the city of seven mountains based on the seven peaks around it.

Bergen is Norway’s second-largest city with a population of 280,000 (Oslo is about twice that size). One of its most popular tourist destinations is the cute and colourful harbour known as Bryggen.

colourful houses in bergen norway

The colourful houses are now filled with arts and crafts stores, cafes and restaurants. And don’t miss the cute backstreets of Bryggen.

cobblestone street in bergen norway

To gain one of the best views in Bergen, hop on the funicular up to Floyen. The funicular takes all of six minutes to get to the top and the views are stunning. Once you’re finished, go for a stroll through the super cute neighborhood of Sandviken.

22. Edinburgh – Scotland

Edinburgh as a city used to be literally just the royal mile area or what is now the Old Town Edinburgh. The city is built on hills, so when it began to fill up, the only way to accommodate people was to go up and down.

Streets known as Closes began to be filled with houses literally on top of each other. And thus began the creation of a city under Edinburgh. This is just one of the many interesting things to do in Edinburgh.

Edinburgh Castle 1

There can be few castles in the world as magnificent as Edinburgh castle! It perches literally on the top of Edinburgh. Don’t leave Edinburgh without visiting Edinburgh castle. 

The Royal Mile is the central street in Edinburgh and is home to historic buildings, shops, several tourist attractions and lots of atmosphere – particularly during August.

It takes about 15 minutes to walk from Holyrood Castle at one end to Edinburgh Castle at the other end. 

view over edinburgh
Edinburgh Castle sits on the top of Edinburgh

Arthur’s Seat is home to one of the best views over Edinburgh. It takes about 30 minutes to walk up to the top. Do be careful with the weather as boy is it windy on a windy day.

edinburgh tours

23. London – United Kingdom

London must come first in this list as it is my hometown. London isn’t known for having the best weather in the world but when the sun shines and you’re on the Thames, any city in the world would be hard-pressed to beat beautiful London.

Westminster Abbey in london, england, uk
Westminster Abbey

“When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life” is the famous quote from Samuel Johnson and I couldn’t agree more. London is home to some of the world’s most famous landmarks from Buckingham Palace to Big Ben to Westminster Abbey and well I could go on and on.

London Bobbies
Love a London Bobbie!

There are 35 different bridges in London along the Thames – from the beautiful pastel coloured Albert Bridge to world famous Tower Bridge. Experience some of the best art in the world at the Royal Academy, the Tate, Tate Modern, National Gallery and many more such institutions.

westminster bridge
westminster bridge

A key part of London’s beauty is its lovely parks – beloved by its residents. London has 3,000 parks and believe it or not 40% of the city is green. Hyde Park is the best known but don’t miss stunning Richmond Park and its deers and views over London and gorgeous Holland Park.

street art portrait in brick lane london
Brick Lane street art

Head off the beaten path and explore London’s street art scene in the East, take a rubbish tour and see lesser known green spots such as the Isle of Dogs, visit the coloured houses of Notting Hill or enjoy a gourmet meal on a London bus whilst experiencing fantastic views of the city.

Scotch Eggs made with Chorizo at Borough Market London

Whilst they don’t add to the city’s beauty there is also an amazing London food scene to enjoy inbetween iconic landmarks as well as some unbeatable shopping on Regent Street, at Selfridges, on the Kings Road and so many more.

⇒ Heading to London? Check out my posts on 13 Unusual Experiences in London, the best London Food Tours, my virtual London Travel Blog, some great Earlsfield restaurants, 14 Things to do in Notting Hill, restaurants near Clapham Junction and Victoria Station restaurants, 16 Famous Landmarks in Europe, a mad hatter afternoon tea party and a day trip to Brighton, 67 Fascinating Facts about London, 18 Landmarks of London from a local, 15 Places to see Sunsets in London, 9 Places to watch the Sunrise in London, 10 Bridges in London Not to Miss and Cotswolds tour from London options.

24. Paris – France

I don’t think it is possible to put together a list of Europe’s most beautiful cities and not include Paris. The city of lights, the city of love, whichever name you want to call it, love it or hate it there is no doubt that Paris is absolutely beautiful.

sunrise in paris from the trocadero fountains
Sunrise in Paris from the Trocadero Fountains

Paris, of course, is known for its famous landmarks like the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, Louvre etc. However, for me what makes Paris beautiful is the charm and detail in its 20 arrondissements. Cobblestone streets, beautiful buildings, atmospheric cafes with wicker outdoor chairs arranged just so – it is the combination of these details that gives the average Paris street so much charm.

The Seine River and its beautiful bridges are critical elements of Paris’ beauty. Indeed there are 37 bridges in Paris – 2 more than the bridges in London – and one of the best ways to enjoy Paris is a cruise under those bridges on the Seine.

Although only 10% of Paris is green, when it is green it is stunning. From the Jardin du Luxembourg to Jardin des Tuileries to the Interior Garden at the Petit Palais Paris does a garden well.

pont neuf
pont neuf

Paris is at its most beautiful first thing in the morning and heading into the evening as the light softens and changes and bathes this beautiful city in a glow. Sunrise in Paris, as well as the sunset in Paris, are not to be missed.

Louvre Museum at Night Paris

25. Rome – Italy

With over 280 fountains and more than 900 churches alone, Rome is fully equipped with enough architectural landmarks to earn a spot on this list. Then add the Colosseum, the Vatican and the Pantheon plus all the other significant buildings in this city and you have a shoe in for any list of the most beautiful cities in the world.

Rome Colosseum pink flowers

It often seems like Rome has enough spectacular buildings and tourist attractions in each block to support a separate city. However, like Paris much of the beauty of Rome is in the details

Fountain di Trevi in Rome Italy

It is in the cobblestone streets, the beautiful Piazzas, a Vespa perfectly posed next to an ancient building and of course the beautiful inhabitants of Rome.


And don’t miss some of Rome’s beautiful neighborhoods like Trastavere and Parioli for quieter but just as atmospheric Roman experiences.

26. Montepulciano – Italy

Montepulciano is quite frankly heaven for wine lovers. This stunning hilltop Tuscan town is ridiculously beautiful and it is just filled with wine. Wineries, red wine, white wine, wine cellars, oak casks, wine shops, wine bars – it really is just wine-tastic! There are so many wineries in Montepulciano.

The stunning vineyards of Montepulciano under stormy skies

In addition to all that wine, Montepulciano is also a beautiful hilltop town. It is pedestrianised and full of small steep streets oozing with atmosphere – and some amazing restaurants and wine bars.

Amazing views at Il Meuble Ricci

The main square of Montepulciano sits right at the top of the town and has a beautiful church and tower.

Read more in my post on the best 12 Best Wineries in Montepulciano and 7 Romantic Tuscany Boutique Hotels.

27. Lucca – Italy

Lovely Lucca is the quintessentially beautiful Tuscan town. This walled city is filled with atmospheric back streets and cobblestones. It is known as the city of 100 churches so there are loads to visit if that’s your thing.

Lucca Italy rooftops

Piazza San Martino is home to Lucca’s very impressive Duomo. Piazza dell Anfiteatro was once a Roman ampitheatre. The Basilica San San Michele in Foro is another stunning church in Lucca.

Lucca 1

For me the highlight of Lucca was walking its medieval walls. The walls have been very well preserved and it is possible to walk the entire circumference of the city.

Torre delle Ore provides a fantastic view and photo opportunity of the rooftops of Lucca.

28. Bologna – Italy

Bologna, Italy is popular as a holiday destination for various reasons. The city has historical appeal, housing the oldest university in the western world.

Bologna Church

It also features charming architecture, with over 20 towers dotted throughout the area. As well as numerous grand churches and cathedrals. And some of these historic buildings are home to the loveliest boutique hotels in Bologna.

Although Bologna has a well-preserved historical centre, it still exudes a trendy cosmopolitan character owing to its large student population. Its trendy atmosphere is perfectly complemented by its culinary reputation.


As the capital city of Emilia-Romagna, it forms part of a region with a food history just as old as its celebrated university.

Find out where to stay in my post on Bologna Boutique Hotels.

29. Lindau, Germany

Lovely Lindau is on Lake Constance and feels like it sits on the Mediterranean. Its old town is actually on an island and contains lovely squares and winding cobbled streets. Enter Lindau through its rather magnificent harbour entrance with a lion statue on one side and Bavaria’s only lighthouse on the other. And Lindau is also where scientists meet to decide on Noble prizes.

lindau germany
lindau germany

30. Strasbourg, France

Located in the Alsace region near the German border, Strasbourg is the seat of the European Parliament and several other EU institutions. The city boasts an array of medieval architecture, charming burghers’ houses, and delicious cuisines.

The city is most famous for having one of the most beautiful and oldest Christmas markets in France. Stroll through the picturesque streets and amidst the canals of the ancient quarters on the Grande-Île (historic centre) to discover this picture perfect city.

Strasbourg Cathedral France
Strasbourg Cathedral

While you’re here, don’t forget to visit “The Pink Cathedral”, the Maison Kammerzell, and the pretty neighbourhood of La Petite France. I highly suggest booking a guided tour to discover the best of Strasbourg.

This city is filled with culture and boasts a range of exceptional museums, archaeology, fine arts, and traditional Alsatian crafts.

31. Rothenburg Ob Der Tauber, Germany

Rothenburg Ob Der Tauber is another beautiful town in Bavaria located on the Romantic Road. The town dates back to the 10th century and is filled with wonderful and photogenic Fachwerk houses. It is a walled city with virtually no car traffic which adds considerably to its charming atmosphere.

Rothenburg Ob Der Tauber
Rothenburg Ob Der Tauber

Head to the top of the tower above the town hall for fantastic views of the beautiful countryside as well as the town’s beautiful main square. And don’t miss the German Christmas Museum!

32. Segovia, Spain

Only 50 miles north of Madrid, Segovia is best known for its awesome intact 2000-year-old Roman Aqueduct and its beautiful Alcazar Castle. In 1985 this beautiful Spanish city also became a UNESCO world heritage city.

segovia spain

Walk along Calle de Cervantes and Calle Juan Bravo to get a feel for this lovely city. Follow them to Segovia’s beautiful Plaza Mayor which has an old theatre and town hall as well as outdoor cafes and restaurants.

33. Colmar, France

Instagram has definitely grown the awareness of this gorgeous canal-based city in France. Before that Colmar was the inspiration for the village in the Disney film Beauty and the Beast. This small town in northeast France is a unique mix of German and French historical architecture with winding cobbled street. It is insanely photogenic with its colourful houses, wooden shutters, and of course window boxes with the latest blooms.

Colmar France
Colmar France

Of course there are museums and churches but the biggest delight of Colmar is just wandering its very cute streets. Don’t miss Pfister House with its wraparound wooden balcony or the area around the Quai de Poissoniers, which has been nicknamed Petit Venice.

34. Toledo, Spain

One of Spain’s World Heritage Cities, Toldeo is surrounded on three sides by the Tago River. It is a unique mix of Jewish, Christian and Muslim influences. Its UNESCO listed old town is full of beautiful cobbled streets, atmospheric plazas as well as synagogues, mosques and churches sitting side by side.

toledo spain

For amazing views over this beautiful city in Spain, head to the hilltop at Parador del Conde Orgaz to see all of Toledo. This is the best place to catch the sunset over Toledo. Then head into town and enjoy some of Toledo’s famous suckling pig.

35. Bayonne, France

Bayonne sits on the Nive River, which is lined with colorful wooden Basque houses. The city is located at the northernmost point of the French Basque Country where the Nive and Adour rivers meet. Bayonne has two main neighborhoods, Grand Bayonne and Petit Bayonne. Buildings in both neighborhoods are a colorful mix of French and Basque architecture. And both sides of the rivers are lined with bars and restaurants.

Bayonne France
Bayonne France

Most of the original wall surrounding Bayonne is gone, but there are some remnants. Grand Bayonne is the more commercial area but also home to some of the most ancient buildings such as the Sainte Marie Cathedral. Petit Bayonne is home to some delightful museums and its highest point is Chateau-Neuf.

36. Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona, the capital and the largest city of Catalonia, is one of the most beautiful centres in Spain. The city is located directly on the northeastern Mediterranean coast, rich in history and home to the famed football club FC Barcelona.

Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Familia Barcelona Spain

It’s the epitome of a beautiful European city, where you’ll find plenty of outdoor markets, shops, museums, churches, and restaurants. While you’re in the city, a must-see is the intricate architecture of the La Sagrada Familia. Other marvel creations from Antoni Gaudi’s works to see are Park Guell, Casa Mila, and Casa Batllo.   

park guell barcelona
park guell barcelona

While you’re here, don’t forget to check out the Gothic Quarter. Take a stroll down Las Ramblas, and sample some delicious street food at the La Boqueria. I suggest taking a bike tour to explore Barcelona’s vibrant neighbourhoods.

37. Annecy, France

Located in the French Alps, Annecy is by far one of the most attractive cities in France. Also known as “the Venice of the Alps”, it’s a fairytale city with waterways crisscrossing through the town and is lined with colourful architecture.

annecy canals
annecy canals

While you’re in Annecy, visit the Château d’Annecy, a 14th-century medieval castle that’s perched at the top of a hill, overlooking the city and Old Town. Pack a picnic basket, and take a walk to the Palais de l’Isle. Alternatively, join a walking tour to discover Annecy’s popular places.

villa caroline lake annecy
lake annecy

Another must-see sight bordering the city is Lac d’ Annecy (Lake Annecy), it’s one of the most beautiful lakes in France. The city is the perfect getaway destination for photography lovers, romantics, or foodies alike.

This most beautiful cities in Europe post includes affiliate links. That means if you click through and end up making a purchase I will receive a small commission. I wanted to make sure you were aware of this.

seville tiles
Beautiful tiles in Seville Spain

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Capitol Home

Thursday 25th of March 2021

You missed ALL of Portugal? Dumb.

The Boutique Adventurer

Thursday 25th of March 2021

I promise I will review Portugal specifically for the next version!

David in Jurisic

Friday 27th of November 2020

San Marino is an independent country, surrounded by Italy.

The Boutique Adventurer

Friday 27th of November 2020

Hi David - yes I did know that and I talk about it being a republic in the post - however you are probably correct that I could make this clearer. I have just updated the post to reflect that. Thanks for your feedback!

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