Europe is a melting pot of fascinating cultures, with unparalleled cities full of life, art, architecture, food, music, theater, fashion, shopping, and everything in between. The top ten places highlighted here are only the tip of the iceberg; however, these places have been selected for their international influence throughout the history of this patchwork quilt of a continent. These top ten trace European history throughout prosperous historical periods and destitute ones, throughout empires, wars, triumphs and defeats. Such rich history is the foundation for some of the best European art, architecture and monuments, which are to be found in abundance in these top ten. Without further ado, let’s travel to the 10 top places in Europe!
Table of contents:
- rome, italy
- paris, france
- london, england
- barcelona, spain
- venice, italy
- athens, greece
- florence, italy
- amsterdam, netherlands
- madrid, spain
- lisbon, portugal
1 Rome, Italy
The country shaped like a boot has the sexiest lacings in Rome. The capital city is the entire country knotted into 1,285 square kilometers. A visit to Rome is a visit to some of the world’s greatest masterpieces – the Vatican, with Michelangelo’s extraordinary Sistine Chapel, the Borghese Gallery and the Capitoline Museums. But, even more so, the city continues to feel like the seat of an empire, with the iconic Coliseum and the Pantheon still standing strong. This single city once so powerful that it ruled all of Europe and beyond, can still be felt throbbing in its cobbled streets, the stone unchanged, and in its exemplary squares and buildings. And the food – the food is what truly exemplifies Rome as one of the best places to visit in Europe. Pizza and pasta and gelato galore, on every street, at any time of the day or night. The very memory of even the simplest Italian dish will make your mouth water for a lifetime.
2 Paris, France
It’s no wonder that the city of love is so often frequented by tourists. Who wouldn’t fall in love with Paris’ romantic architecture, art and sophistication? As one of the most quintessential European cities, a stroll through Paris is like walking through a lover’s dream. The Eiffel Tower is nearly always on the horizon, while Notre Dame and the Champs-Élysées are captivating in their grandeur. Every building seems placed to capture the hearts of those who look upon it. There is not a single eyesore in Paris. Speaking of which, the world’s finest art is housed in Paris’ museums – the Louvre, Pompidou, and Orsay, just to name a few. And when you finally sit down to rest from your whirlwind adventure, you’ll feel like a real Parisian, drinking a café latte at one of the many bistros along the grand squares or boulevards which line the Seine. One night in Paris will grab hold of you and never let go.
3 London, England
As the continent’s biggest and richest city, London’s cultural diversity and yet traditional identity has long marked it as a top European destination. The iconic landmarks are endless – Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey – and the city is home to some of the best and most comprehensive museums in the world – The British Museum, the National Gallery and the Tates. With great art and theatre, divine history, and some of the best shopping, London is one of the beating hearts of Europe.
4 Barcelona, Spain
Contemporary Europe is made manifest in Barcelona. Traditional values are kept intact, but combined enthusiastically with innovation and forward-thinking. This is exemplified in the city’s grand cathedral, La Sagrada Familia, one of Gaudi’s most impressive masterpieces, and one of the most unique architectural creations of the 20th century. Though there are many museums, monuments, and other attractions with which to consume your time, Barcelona, in itself, is the main attraction. The city’s spirit is lively, and you can feel it pulsing with a flamenco beat.
5 Venice, Italy
A visit to this sinking city is a visit to one of the world’s richest treasures, also once one of the richest cities and a center of trade. The most grandiose private residences can be found on Venice’s renowned canals. Falling head over heels in love with Venice is only a gondola ride away, as you’ll view spectacular palazzos, St. Mark’s Square and of course such fine art and architecture, you won’t know where to look.
6 Athens, Greece
Climbing the mount of the Acropolis is climbing back in time to an ancient city, an empirical capital, the birthplace of democracy. Atop the Acropolis, you will gaze upon Athens like a god, as rulers past have done at the height of Greece’s rule. The ancient Plaka neighborhood is a great place to start your exploration, with ancient ruins scattered throughout. And, of course, museums like the National Archaeological Museum and the Acropolis Museum showcase the Greeks’ mind-boggling achievements in ancient artifacts, unearthed; in pieces of time, reborn.
7 Florence, Italy
Yes, Italy has made this list three times, but so many places in Italy trace some of the greatest periods of European history – and, in Florence, you’ll find the Renaissance like a stopped clock. It’s often said that Florence is an open-air museum, and this is no exaggeration, as its masters, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and Raphael can all be found here. And the city itself, with its romantic architecture and lovely piazzas, make it one of the most remarkable places to visit in Europe.
8 Amsterdam, Netherlands
Amsterdam is a canal-lined city, with clean and well-maintained streets and buildings, a party reputation, and also some of the greatest art housed in its many museums. The Rijksmuseum is home to Rembrandt, and Van Gogh has his very own museum across the street. Also in Amsterdam, the Anne Frank House marks one of the bleakest periods in recent history, and remains one of the most powerful Holocaust memorials to visit in Europe.
9 Madrid, Spain
The Spanish Golden Age of art can be found in Madrid. With an extensive collection of the Prado (Goya and Velazquez), the Thyssen-Bornemisza and the Reina Sofia house many works from Spain’s famed artists, such as Picasso, Salvador Dali, and Miró, as well as many of Europe’s greats, like Monet, Rubens, and Dürer. The joy of Madrid can also be found on the streets, where outdoor cafes and tapas restaurants line the plazas, and some of the best nightlife in Europe comes alive after dark.
10 Lisbon, Portugal
Home to Prince Henry the Navigator, who led in the European golden age of exploration, Lisbon practically spearheaded globalization and is the East’s gateway to Europe. The history is told, as is often the case, through collections of art and artifacts in Lisbon’s many museums. But history is not the only thing that makes this city one of the top places to visit in Europe; it is also one of the most scenic European capitals, with spectacular views encouraged by its many hilltop panoramas and terraces.
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