Top 20 cities in Europe to holiday to
Europe is a fantastically diverse continent, filled with hundreds of thousands of cities ready to explore across the seasons. From buzzing capitals with iconic landmarks to seaside cities offering quiet, beautiful coastlines, there’s plenty to see and do across Europe.
The continent is rich with many brilliant destinations for every type of holidaymaker, offering world-famous monuments, stunning natural beauties, historic sites and a variety of cultures, traditions and cuisines!
Check out our top 20 cities to visit in Europe – all of which tick the box for a dream escape for solo-travellers, couples, groups and/or families.
1. Barcelona, Spain
The metropolitan city of Barcelona, and capital of Spain’s Catalonia region, is a fantastic holiday destination, boasting historic architecture, timeless artworks, delicious authentic cuisine and brilliant nightlife. La Rambla is a tourist hotspot here, as a busy street in central Barcelona, stretching for 1.2 kilometres, lined with great museums, bars, restaurants and historic architecture.
Barcelona is a true cultural hub, boasting over 2,000 years of history as well as brilliant weather all-year round. The hottest month of August has an average temperature of 24*C, offering around nice hours of Spanish sun.
2. Valletta, Malta
Malta’s capital city of Valletta, located in the central-eastern part of the main island, is rich in sites to explore and cultural hot spots. Steeped in history, it’s no wonder the city of Valletta has been granted status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but the city has more to offer than historic buildings and sites!
The city is home to a great variety of museums, The Manoel Theater (one of the oldest working theatre in Europe), the spectacular Grandmaster’s Palace (which today houses the Office of the President of Malta) as well as its renowned waterfront, also known as the Valletta Marina. The city’s Mediterranean climate offers hot summers and very mild winters, with the hottest month as August, with an average temperature of 27*C.
3. Paris, France
France’s capital of Paris – ‘The city of love’ is home to an array of iconic landmarks, from the Eiffel Tower to the Notre Dame. This major European country is a global centre for art, fashion and culture, as well as a tourist hotspot for its many attractions, from museums to galleries. Renowned for its delicious cuisine, including the baguette, croissant, croquet-monsieur and steak-frites. While a hugely romantic city, Paris is not purely a destination for couples – this city caters for all.
5. Madrid, Spain
Madrid, Spain’s largest and capital city, is a hugely popular tourist destination! This vibrant capital is home to an array of fantastic art galleries, museums, festivals, theatres, offering fantastic day-activities as well as a lively nightlife! The iconic Plaza de Cibeles square is one of the grandest in Europe, surrounded by majestic buildings and home to the famous 18th century fountain of Cibeles.
6. Berlin, Germany
Germany’s largest and capital city of Berlin is a hugely popular destination amongst tourists, located in north-eastern Germany on the banks of Rivers Spree and Havel. The cosmopolitan city boasts an array of historic buildings, over 100 museums and more than 400 art galleries. Berlin also offers a vibrant nightlife and renowned festivals and events throughout the year, such as the Berlin International Film Festival, a world leading media festival held every year in February.
Berlin is another year-round destination, with pleasantly warm temperatures and hours of sunshine between May and August, and the hottest month of July averaging 24*C.
7. Athens, Greece
The capital of Greece, at the heart of Ancient Greece, offers an unforgettable holiday destination. With the Greek civilization one of the oldest and biggest in Europe, a trip to Athens is sure to please history-lovers. The ancient Acropolis of Athens is a tourist hotspot (and UNESCO World Heritage Site). As the most striking Ancient Greek monumental complex today, it’s no wonder more than two million people visit this historic site each year. With plenty of coasts around the city, visitors can enjoy the hot-summer Mediterranean climate here surrounded by natural beauties.
7. Venice, Italy
The beautiful city of Venice, the capital of northern Italy’s Veneto region, offers over 100 islands, 400 bridges and 170 canals across its six diverse districts. Gondola rides along the Grand Canal are hugely popular here, as well as journeys to the scenic island of San Michele in the Venetian Lagoon. The infamous Saint Mark’s Basilica is a must-see here, as well as the Doge’s Palace, built in Venetian Gothic style.
8. Paphos, Cyprus
The historic city of Paphos, at the south-western tip of Cyprus, is split into two area; the lower town and the upper town. The city has been inhabited since the 12 century and today, is notably home to Aphrodite’s Rock (also known as Petra tou Romiou), an infamous sea stack which, according to legend, is the site of the birthplace of the goddess Aphrodite. Visitors to Paphos can also explore the Tomb of the Kings, a large necropolis and UNESCO World Heritage Site, located around two kilometres west of Paphos harbor.
This destination offers a beautifully warm climate throughout most of the year, with high temperatures soaring to 30*C in the summer months with up to 14 hours of sun each day. The island remains mild even in the winter months with an average temperature of 18*C.
9. Riga, Latvia
The capital city of Latvia, Riga, is set on the Baltic Sea at the mouth of the River Daugava, home to more than a third of Latvia’s population. Riga boasts a plethora of historical buildings and monuments, notably in the historical centre Vecrīga. The area is filled with cobbled streets and a variety of architectural germs, such as Riga Cathedral and St. Peter’s Church. Riga itself is a fantastic cosmopolitan city, offering an abundance of shops, restaurants and forms of entertainment.
10. Nice, France
Nice, the capital of the Alpes-Maritimes department on the French Riviera, is a fantastic holiday destination for a relaxed city break, famous for its beautiful view on the seven-kilometres-long Promenade des Anglais. The city is also home to an exciting array of art galleries and museums, quaint, cobbled beaches, the renowned Nice Cathedral, Notre-Dame de Nice and the popular Nice Observatory, an astronomical observatory on the summit of Mont Gros.
11. Warsaw, Poland
Poland’s capital city of Warsaw is a brilliant city escape, filled with historic monuments from Gothic churches to neoclassical churches. It’s one of the most popular cities in central and eastern Europe, home to the Palace of Culture and Science, an iconic landmark building which includes a huge congress ball, multiscreen cinema, theatres and museums. A trip to Łazienki Park here is also a must, as the largest park in the city occupying 76 hectares.
12. Lisbon, Portugal
The hilly, historical and coastal city of Lisbon is a brilliant holiday destination, offering a beautiful coastline with family-friendly beaches as well as quiet, secluded sandy retreats. Belém Tower is a brilliant landmark here, as well as the Jerónimos Monastery, near the Tagus River.
The city is best-explored by the infamous number 28 tram – the classic yellow tram which takes visitors through the various districts, including Baixa and Alfama. Lisbon offers sunshine around 290 days a year, with an average temperature of 24*C in summer!
13. Vilnius, Lithuania
Lithuania’s capital city of Vilnius, lying in the valley of the confluence of Neris and Vilnia rivers, is another popular tourist destination, offering a plethora of museums, spectacular historic buildings, gorgeous green spaces and the popular Green Lakes; six gorgeous lakes located in the north-east of the city. The capital hosts a huge variety of festivals and events throughout the year, including the International Vilnius Film Festival, the largest in the nation.
Summer here, from May to September, is moderately hot with temperatures reaching 25*C, while winter turns very cold, with temperatures dropping to as low as -15*C in January, the coldest month of the year.
14. Alicante, Spain
The beautiful port city of Alicante, on Spain’s south-eastern Costa Blanca, offers a great year-round destination, with temperatures averaging 26*C in August (its hottest month) and 12*C in its coldest month of January. Many flock to the city’s pretty port, as well as the renowned Santa Bárbara Castle, in the centre of Alicante. Explorers can also enjoy the Canelobre Caves, a spectacular natural beauty located in a Busot town, around 23 kilometres from Alicante.
15. Reykjavik, Iceland
Iceland’s capital city is Reykjavik, a pretty, relaxed destination, filled with an array of shops, cafes, bars and restaurants. The city also offers some fantastic attractions, such as the popular Reykjavík Art Museum, the largest visual art institution in Iceland, and the landmark Perlan, a large, dome-shaped building.
The capital is also home to Hallgrímskirkja, Reykjavik’s main landmark and the largest church in the country. Of course, many visit this brilliant city and area of Europe for a chance to see the Northern Lights (the official Aurora season in Iceland is typically from October until March).
16. Heraklion, Greece
Heraklion, the largest city of the Greek Island of Crete, also the fourth largest city in Greece, is surrounded by beautiful fortifications of defensive walls. This historic city’s old town is a wonderful place to explore on foot, offering gorgeous century-old churches and narrow winding streets. The Heraklion Archaeological Museum is a fantastic attraction here, widely regarded as one of the greatest museums in all of Greece. The city’s subtropical climate offers long and hot summers, with the hottest month of July averaging 25*C, and short, mild winters.
17. Nicosia, Cyprus
Cyprus’ capital and largest city, Nicosia, offers an array of great cafes, restaurants and bars as well as a cultural scene enticing to history-lovers. The city, also known as Lefkosia, is home to the renowned Cyprus Museum, the island’s oldest and largest archaeological museum containing a brilliant collection of artefacts and antiquities. The Büyük Han is a popular attraction here, as the largest caravanserai on the island.
18. Frankfurt, Germany
The central German city of Frankfurt is another great city escape, known for its eye-catching and futuristic skyline and of course, the famous Frankfurt sausage! The medieval building of Römer is one of the city’s most important landmarks, which has been the city hall for over 600 years! Frankfurt Zoo, the second oldest in Germany, is a great attraction for the whole family, home to over 4,500 animals.
19. Bruges, Belgium
The beautiful city of Bruges, the capital of west Flanders, is known for its cobbled streets, spectacular, medieval buildings and idyllic canals. Many tourists flock to Bruges for its nearby port, Zeebrugge, a popular seafront resort destination with an array of bars, cafes, a marina and beach. The Markt of Bruges, located in the heart of the buzzing city, is another tourist hotspot, offering some great historical sites.
20. Verona, Italy
The charming city of Verona, located in northern Italy’s Veneto region, offers an idyllic holiday destination mixed with some fantastic activities. The city is famous for its Roman Amphitheatre Arena di Verona, built in the 1st century, as well as the Piazza Bra, the largest piazza in the city.
This romantic city (the setting of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet) boasts an array of gorgeous architecture, brilliant shopping, delicious food and stunning sceneries of Lake Garda, the largest lake in Italy.
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