Eight beautiful cities in Europe

I have to admit that I am pretty lucky to live in Europe, the continent has so many interesting and beautiful cities that are just a stone’s throw away from good old Blighty. Even if you do live a bit further out, however, there are many that are worth the trip:

1. Paris, France

There’s no surprises here, Paris is renowned for being a beautiful city. Paris may not be the first choice of destination for the budget traveller- it ain’t cheap!- but it has some stunning architecture, and not just the landmarks but just the general buildings, so I would have been happy just to wander around and take it all in.  The Banks of the River Seine are even listed as a UNESCO site and it is not hard to see why. The Louvre is a sight in itself, even before you get inside, Sacre Coeur is worth walking all the steps it takes to kept up close and the Arc de Triomphe is beautiful, even with mountains of traffic whizzing around it. Enough said.Sacre Coeur

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2. Venice, Italy

I have never been to anywhere like Venice, for the simple reason that I don’t think there is anything like Venice. It’s a city set in a blue lagoon, with canals and boats instead of cars and roads. The lanes are narrow and quaint and the architecture is beautiful. It’s like wandering around a huge, open-air museum. I remember walking along a series of bridges where at each one, everyone would stop and take a picture of whatever view they found before carrying on to the next bridge, taking a picture and repeating again. It was as though we were all being presented with a series of exhibitions. When I first emerged into San Marco Piazza and actually exclaimed. Everything in Venice just seemed more beautiful, from the bookshop with a gondola in it, to the building in the second picture below, which was a hospital. Bet you wouldn’t have guessed that.

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3. Prague, Czech Republic

I didn’t know exactly what to expect from Prague. I didn’t really even know what there was to do or to see, so the first thing I did was a free walking tour in order to get acquainted with the city. What I found was an eclectic mixture of architectural styles, with everything from Gothic to Baroque, Rococo and Art Nouveau. It’s a building-lovers dream. It’s the perfect city to just get lost in (particularly because it is so small that you’ll be able to find your way in the end- having said that I did get lost for about an hour). Starting in the centre, by the astronomical clock, you can cross the Charles Bridge and walk up to the castle, where you can easily spend a day exploring and from which you can find views of the city below.

Prague

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4. Amsterdam, Netherlands

While Amsterdam may be well known for its coffeeshops and red light district, there is so much more to the city than just that. It has an extensive canal network which is surrounded by pretty, tall buildings and cobbled streets, containing a mass of bikes, which seem to be the main way to navigate the city. Then there’s the markets, winding lanes and quaint restaurants. I don’t even know what else to say- just go there.

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5. Dublin, Ireland

I had never really considered going to Dublin as it never seemed like a particularly exotic destination, probably due to its proximity to home. However, my friend recently moved there for work and I went over to help her settle in. I pretty much fell in love with the city on the bus from the airport to the centre, as we passed lots of beautiful buildings, with classical influences. Over the weekend, I stumbled across lots of pretty streets with lights and quirky bars but the thing that really made Dublin was the atmosphere. It was warm (metaphorically speaking- the weather was actually pretty chilly), buzzy and friendly. I can’t wait to go back.

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6. Brussels, Belgium

Brussels was another place that I had never thought of going. When people talk about Belgium, Bruges seems to be the go-to place. However, when I got the offer of free travel on the Eurostar through a friend, I jumped at the chance and I’m glad I did. You’ve probably picked up on a theme here- I’m a sucker for a good building, and Brussels was no different. The Grand Place was a staggeringly beautiful square, which caused a similar reaction in me to Piazza San Marco in Venice. I had heard about the Grand Place before I arrived but my free walking tour introduced me to a whole array of architecture worth seeing. You really shouldn’t write Brussels off. It also has a lot of good food- that city has a serious sweet tooth.

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7. Rome, Italy

Rome is an awesome city for an ancient history lover, like myself. You’ll be walking down the street, turn a corner, and BAM! there’s the Colosseum and the Arch of Constantine. The city is stuffed full of ancient wonders. It has some gems from other eras too, like the baroque Trevi Fountain, which is particularly beautiful lit up at night. Rome is also pretty great as it is home to another country- Vatican City. Here you’ll find the impressive St Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel, where you can see some of Michelangelo’s handiwork. You can even venture outside of the city and find the ruins of an entire town- Ostia. There’s just so many treasures to see.

The Forum

8. London, England

And last but not least, my city (kind of)- London. I don’t know if people come to London expecting a beautiful city but parts of it really are. Notting Hill is full of quaint buildings of varying colour, the Houses of Parliament are quite a sight and there are plenty of leafy, pretty parks. Having said that the time I really realised how beautiful London was actually quite recently when I was walking to the Army and Navy Club for a work event. I started by walking down the tree-lined Mall towards Buckingham Palace before crossing over to Pall Mall. On my way through Waterloo Place, I came across many lovely buildings and statues and I realised that London is actually a pretty beautiful place to be- y’know, if you look past all the building works.

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44 thoughts on “Eight beautiful cities in Europe

  1. I really enjoyed this post because I’m lucky to have been in seven of the cities you mentioned, and super lucky to live in the eighth, Rome 🙂 by the way, London is the most beautiful and Dublin the one I love the most 🙂

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  2. We are super lucky to be based within reach of all these places – just got back from Rome and had an amazing time. Dublin is actually the only one of these I haven’t been to – I always feel like it’s not that exotic either, but I’m inspired to go now!

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  3. Loved the post!
    Among all the beautiful cities you showed, I have only been in Amsterdam. It was amazing. As you said, there is so so so much more to see than coffeshops and the red light district. There are many interesting museums to visit, nice places to eat and beautiful surprises in every corner of the city. 🙂

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      1. Thank you. I think one time is never enought to be at a city 😉
        And yes! I hope to visit the other cities too, they look amazing.
        Keep up the good work on your blog!

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    1. Thanks for your comment, I’m so glad you liked it!! I hope you do get to come to Europe, there are so many great places- I’ve only scratched the surface! I’d love to go inter-railing and explore more thoroughly!

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  4. I’ve visited 8 out of 10 cities on this list (Prague and Dublin are the ones I’m missing) and I’m so glad you included Amsterdam! I feel like it gets a shady rap here in the states, and everyone assumes you want to visit strictly for the pot and crazy nightlife, but there is so so much more to the city than coffeeshops and the red light district. The Netherlands in general is beautiful and Amsterdam is filled with amazing history and art to boot.

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    1. I completely agree! I didn’t know much about Amsterdam when I went but now I’d love to go back and explore more- although preferably in the summer, it was freezing when I went in winter!

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  5. London is a lovely place to live in,I agree.Stockholm holds my heart,lived there when I was much younger.I do hope I get to see more of the places you’ve described,thanks.

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    1. Thanks for your comment, I hope you get to see them too! I’ve actually never been to Sweden but I went to Scandinavia for the first time a few weeks ago when I visited Oslo and loved it. It’s definitely a part of the world I would love to explore more!

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