Europe’s 15 Most Beautiful Cities to Visit in Your Lifetime

European cities have history, charm, and aesthetic appeal. Here are 15 particularly beautiful examples that everyone should visit at least once!

European cities aren’t like other metropoles. Most were founded eons ago, usually in strategic (and stunning) locations, and built up organically over time. Like ancient trees, they’ve watched countless generations come and go and changed slowly with each one.

You end up with cities that have layers and character, where cobbled walkways, curious landmarks, and diverse architecture paint a picture of a complex past. The history is tangible. Walking down winding streets made slick by 1000 years of footfall, you can see and touch it.

As much as anything else, the best cities in Europe are beautiful and beg to be explored. Here are 15 of the most impressive that everyone should visit at least once in their lifetimes.

1. Nafplio, Greece

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Greece has many beautiful cities, but few are as picturesque as Nafplio. This coastal gem in the Peloponnese is blessed with sumptuous sea views with snowcapped mountains in the distance, a scenic harbor, mighty castles, and cobbled streets leading to piazzas dripping with Italian charm.

The history, architecture, views, and vibe make Nafplio a must-visit destination.

2. Florence, Italy

Florence cathedral in Italy
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Florence is an incredible city in Tuscany, and its sense of history is palpable. Known as the birthplace of the Renaissance, it feels like you’ve stepped into a medieval fairytale.

There’s fantastic architecture and attractions from the Middle Ages around every corner. Highlights include the magical Duomo (Florence Cathedral), Ponte Vecchio, and Michelangelo’s masterpiece, the Statue of David.

3. Oxford, UK

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Oxford is an ancient city in the United Kingdom famous for its eponymous university. Many of the buildings and star attractions here are linked to this prestigious institution, including the Bodleian Library and its 18th-century Radcliffe Camera.

Oxford is a pretty place, but the architecture is arguably the city’s most striking feature. It’s grand, imposing, ornate, and…old. Many buildings here date back to the 11th century.

4. Aosta, Italy

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The Aosta Valley is in the far northwest of Italy, and Aosta is a city at the heart of it. Beautiful isn’t the word. Aosta is a charming metropolis with ancient origins nestled in breathtaking Alpine surroundings.

There aren’t many places on the planet where snowcapped mountains provide a backdrop to Roman ruins. But that’s exactly what you get here.

5. Carcassonne, France

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Carcassonne will leave you speechless – and not just because you don’t speak French. This medieval fortified city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with a 2,500-year history.

The strategically located site pre-dates the Romans, but they were the ones who first fortified it in the 4th century. The Middle Ages saw fresh fortifications, turning Carcassonne into the iconic walled city you can explore today. It’s one of the most spectacular places you will ever visit.

6. Tbilisi, Georgia

Tbilisi, Georgia
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Georgia is a hidden gem that straddles the border of Europe and Asia. It’s a vibrant and intoxicating country with a capital that embodies its best bits.

Anyone who visits Tbilisi can expect spectacular scenery, an eclectic mix of architecture, unique attractions, and age-old fortifications. It’s another place with a great blend of history, culture, and natural beauty.

7. Prague, Czech Republic

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Welcome to one of Europe’s most aesthetically pleasing capital cities. Prague has it all – romance, history, excitement, intrigue…you name it. Among other things, the architecture is sublime, the beer is world-class, and the Vltava River running through its center is postcard-perfect.

Highlights include Prague Castle (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), Charles Bridge, and the Old Town Bridge Tower.

8. Budapest, Hungary

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Fun fact: Budapest is three cities in one. Buda, Obuda, and Pest were separate destinations until they merged in 1873. Together, they’ve formed a quintessential European capital with the mighty Danube River at its heart.

Expect striking buildings (such as the Hungarian Parliament), unrivaled nightlife, more cobblestone streets than you can shake a stick at, and countless museums and galleries.

9. Edinburgh, Scotland

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No trip to Scotland is complete without visiting its infamous capital, Edinburgh. This is another UK city renowned for its history, architecture, and access to beautiful green spaces.

It’s the real deal – a photogenic gem where cobbled streets weave their way past mighty clocktowers to epic clifftop castles.

10. Seville, Spain

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Seville is as sun-kissed and sultry as you’d expect from somewhere in southern Spain. It’s historic, too. This popular city pre-dates the Romans, who ruled it from 205 BC. When Rome fell, the centuries that followed saw a steady flow of invasions and successive rulers.

This helps explain modern Seville’s rich culture and diverse architecture. Highlights include the Catedral de Sevilla and the Plaza de Espana.

11. Vienna, Austria

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Vienna is a beautiful, liveable city with masses available for history buffs and culture vultures to sink their teeth into.

It’s another fairytale destination, so expect charming cobblestone streets, grand Baroque palaces, and bustling squares. Vienna’s historic center became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001.

12. Barcelona, Spain

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Barcelona is another dazzling city in Spain. While it’s tourist-friendly and boasts a treasure chest of attractions, it also maintains a lovely traditional Spanish vibe. Barcelona’s beach, Gothic Quarter, Temple of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and vibrant markets are all incredible.

Yet the main event is definitely La Sagrada Familia – Gaudi’s famously unfinished basilica. It’s huge, unbelievably ornate, and utterly unique both inside and out.

13. Amsterdam, Netherlands

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There’s a reason Amsterdam is the most famous city in the Netherlands. Aside from its aesthetic appeal, it’s welcoming, diverse, dynamic, and full of things to do. Hire a bike and cycle along the canals, visit the Van Gogh Museum, explore Anne Frank House, eat delicious Dutch food, enjoy the nightlight, and wander through Vondelpark.

14. Bern, Switzerland

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The capital of Switzerland is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, let alone Europe. It’s also tiny! Around 134,000 people live in Bern, which pales in comparison to somewhere like London, which has a population of almost nine million.

The landscapes around the city are hard to beat. Bern itself, though, is the biggest draw. Its medieval Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is situated on a long, narrow hill encircled by the Aare River.

15. Alesund, Norway

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Alesund might be the most beautiful European city of the lot. It’s certainly one of Norway’s. This epic destination lacks the history of other places on this list, but the scenery is unparalleled.

In typical Norwegian style, there’s water and mountains everywhere. Colorful Art Nouveau buildings sit right on the sea, and majestic peaks rise above them.

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Author: Danny Newman

Title: Writer and Content Creator

Expertise: Travel, Digital Nomadry, Outdoors, Blogging

Danny Newman is a writer, content creator, and digital nomad from the UK. He founded the travel and lifestyle blog What’s Danny Doing, a popular resource for people seeking more adventure, self-discovery, and purpose. A nationally syndicated writer, Danny’s work features in dozens of online publications, including and news sites across the US.