European travel is always near the top of most popular vacations. Whether seeing one country at a time, or going for a whirlwind tour of the entire continent, here are ten of the best cities to see when in Europe.
The slippery streets of connecting the bars of Barrio Alto, sardines cooking uncovered at every corner. The winding passageways adrift in Fado music leading to the Moorish castle atop the Alfama district. The immense festivals that bring visitors from all over the continent. Lisbon might not be the first capital you think of when planning a trip to Europe, but it will rank high on anyone's list of best European travel destinations and is often regarded as one of the top travel destinations around the world.
You don't have to be rich and famous (though it helps) to enjoy this tiny principality on the Mediterranean coast. Located along the coast with Nice and Cannes, this city/country is almost entirely centered around its enormous casinos, exquisite and fanciful establishments that seems more like palaces than a gambling halls. Like Las Vegas, Monaco never seems to stop, not even in the small hours, another reason it is one of the most popular European destinations.
A quaint little town just miles from the Croatian border, this Hungarian city has been torn apart by war more times than one can count, but what was left unscathed from the bloody battles between Moslems and Christians gives Pecs an exuberant Mediterranean flair – while it's now more of a university city, this imbues Pecs with a sense of youthful optimism that is in turns obvious and in tangible.
One trip into Basque country will be all that you need to understand this city's ongoing popularity. One of the rainiest cities in the world during much of the year, it becomes a shimmering summer capital during the warmer months. From the swaying Bay of Biscay to the terminally green hillsides surrounding San Sebastian, aristocrats have long sung its praises, and you will too.
Unmistakably the art capital of Europe, the enormity of Berlin is at first too much to take in. But as you make your way through the maze of stoic Soviet architecture, nonstop danceclubs, and tempting pastry shops, there will be little you want to leave out during your stay. The still obvious disparities between the east and west sides of the city give Berlin a unique outlay, constant contrasts that make this one of the most intriguing and popular European destinations.
Everywhere along the Italian Riviera is worthy of a long trip, but this collection of fishing villages has only recently felt the boom of tourism. Though they go to sleep early, these small towns offer a glimpse into rural Italy that is unmatched about anywhere else. Hiking and food are the real draws here, and as you look out onto the Mediterranean, surrounded by olive groves, you will not question why everyone speaks of Cinque Terre in such reverential terms.
Deep in the heart of Transylvania, you half expect to find vampires around every turn in the city - possibly because it is well known as the birthplace of Vlad the Impaler (aka Count Dracula). A city untouched by, well, just about anything modern, this hilltop town was built in the 15th century, and seems to have forgotten the rest of the world. The array of cobblestone streets, tangled and arbitrary, lead you through a wonderland of medieval architecture and unmistakable grace.
Maybe the most scenic city in Norway, the reason this is one of the top European travel destinations is due to its access to the country's famed fjords. Norway's longest fjord is just a short walk to the north, and the resorts here are world-class, especially popular during the springtime.
Though the city is fabled for its unabashed hedonism, there's a quaint, provincial charm to most of the city – glassy canals, the constant ringing of bicyclists as they circumnavigate the crowds, the ubiquitous cafes that line every street, it all adds up to one of the most popular European travel destinations.
With the snow-capped Pyrenees brushed quietly on the city's backdrop, this jewel in the southwest of France might not be at the top of most popular European destinations…and that's a shame. Alive with regional flavor, Carcassone features the remains of medieval architecture unlike any other you will see in Europe.
Once one of the world's wealthiest cities, many hints of the past still remain. This Belgian city is awash in gothic buildings, its medieval history still alive and very much intact today. Bruges has made an elegant transition to a cosmopolitan city and remains one of the most popular European destinations due to its ability to find the right balance between the new and old.