12+ Best Gothic Cities in Europe

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Discover the 12 best gothic cities in Europe for the ultimate medieval experience.

Europe is one of the best continents to do sightseeing and travel. Here, you can witness the architectural marvels from eras like the Renaissance and Middle Ages that almost feel like you’ve entered a time machine!

I love the diversity of Europe and all the different architectural styles that represent different times and eras. Having traveled through most of Europe I have seen the changes in styles firsthand and find it AMAZING that from such short distances, there is so much difference.

This is one of the things that makes Europe so amazing and a place everyone needs to explore at some point in their life!

The architecture of the Middle Ages, known as Gothic originates in France, but it spread well beyond its borders and into other arts such as literature, painting, and even fashion.

Travel to the 12+ best gothic cities in Europe to see and experience the best of Europe’s Middle Ages past.

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12+ Best Gothic Cities in Europe

Short on time? Here are the TOP THREE gothic cities you can’t miss
➡️ Prague, Czech Republic
Click here for the top-rated tour in Prague
➡️ Rothenburg, Germany
Click here for the top-rated tour in Rothenburg
➡️ Paris, France
Click here for the top-rated Gothic tour in Paris

How to get around Europe
🚗 Rent a car with Discover Cars
🚂 Book trains with Omio
🚎 Book busses with Busbud

Prague, Czech Republic


Prague is Europe’s best-preserved gothic city. Its medieval charm extends all around the city with its winding streets, old churches, and famous landmarks.

Exploring Prague will have you feeling like you’ve been transported back in time as you walk Charles Bridge and admire the stunning gothic St. Vitus Cathedral.

Read More: Best Girls Trip Destinations in Europe

Must Visit Gothic Attractions in Prague:
🏰 Church of Our Lady Before Týn
🏰 St. Vitus Cathedral
🏰 Charles Bridge

The vibe in Prague is unlike any other city in Europe where every month of the year the haunting gothic feel is ever present. It is the ideal place to visit for a cozy and carefree getaway full of beauty and wonder.

Rothenburg, Germany

Rothenburg ob der Tauber village

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, located in Bavaria, Germany, is a Gothic city renowned for its well-preserved medieval architecture and enchanting atmosphere.

While here walk along the town walls to admire panoramic views of the gothic rooftops, and immerse yourself in the heart of the city at the bustling Market Square with its Gothic Town Hall and charming shops.

Then visit St. Jakob’s Church to admire its intricate woodcarvings and stained glass windows.

Must Visit Gothic Attractions in Rothenburg ob der Tauber:
🏰 Gothic Town Hall
🏰 St. Jakob’s Church
🏰 Medieval Crime and Punishment Museum
🏰 Night Watchman Tour

Rothenburg ob der Tauber is a gothic city that will transport you to a bygone era, leaving you captivated by its architectural beauty and rich heritage.

Paris, France

Paris gothic archtecture

Paris, one of the best Gothic cities in Europe, is where Gothic architecture first emerged. It is one of the best places to visit in Europe for a complete gothic experience, plus some other architectural experiences too!

Pay a visit to Saint-Denis Basilica, a prayer house featuring the earliest examples of Gothic architecture. It is here that the world saw for the first time the mind-blowing stained glass window panels that can be found in the place of worship’s beautiful rose windows.

Must Visit Gothic Attractions in Paris:
🏰 Saint-Denis Basilica
🏰 Notre Dame
🏰 Hotel de Cluny
🏰 Sainte Chapelle

Paris downtown is one of the best places to travel to pick over the most prized Gothic architectural sites. Here you can see not only its unique medieval Gothic cathedrals like Notre Dame with its Gothic bell towers but also other Gothic landmarks such as Hotel de Cluny.

Be sure to also view the 13th-century stained glass of Sainte Chapelle, a jewel in the crown of the Parisian Gothic.  

Read More: Do they speak English in Paris?

Tallinn, Estonia

Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, is one of the most captivating gothic cities in Europe that will enchant you with its well-preserved medieval charm.

The picturesque Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is complete with cobblestone streets, gothic spires, and historic buildings.

From the towering Toompea Castle and the striking Alexander Nevsky Cathedral to the impressive Tallinn Town Hall and the ancient Town Wall, the city exudes an atmosphere of timeless beauty.

I loved my visit to Tallinn and found it SUCH a unique city in Europe. The combination of Scandinavian style, medieval shops, and Eastern European influences is unlike anything I’ve seen before. It is a top place to visit for those seeking a gothic and unique holiday.

Must Visit Gothic Attractions in Tallinn:
🏰 St. Catherine’s Passage
🏰 Tallinn Cathedral
🏰 Kadriorg Palace

Delight in wandering through St. Catherine’s Passage, discovering artisan workshops, and marveling at the gothic merchant houses.

The Tallinn Cathedral and Kadriorg Palace showcase grandeur and elegance, while the city’s museums and vibrant nightlife provide further glimpses into its fascinating history and culture.

As night falls, Tallinn’s gothic charms take on a new dimension, with the illuminated streets and ambiance creating an enchanting setting. Tallinn is a gothic gem that captivates visitors with its rich heritage and medieval splendor.

London, England

Even if architecturally less significant than Paris, London is one of the best Gothic cities in Europe, best known for its Gothic literature.

Pick a copy of “Orlando Castle” or “Vitek” to immerse yourself into the charm of a Gothic novel, or fetch the non-Gothic “People of the Abyss” with highly Gothic subject and head for a tour of the eerie East End.

Don’t forget that Gothic things are not only in the literary domain but also can be found in the city’s museums!

What is more, London boasts top Medieval-architectural treasures like Westminster Hall, St. Pancras Station, Guildhall, and a whole Gothic village, Cloth Fair featuring the oldest buildings to be seen in London.

If you get tired of London’s hustle and bustle head to Canterbury, a town not far away to gaze at the famous Canterbury Cathedral.

Must Visit Gothic Attractions in London:
🏰 Museums
🏰 Westminster Hall
🏰 Guildhall
🏰 Cloth Fair
🏰 St. Pancras Station

Chartres, France


Chartres, one of the best Gothic cities in Europe, is one of the best towns to visit in Europe to take delight in scenic Gothic architecture. Here you can find the marvelous UNESCO-listed Chartres cathedral, dubbed “the high point of French Gothic art and a “masterpiece”.

Its most striking features include the stained glass rose windows creating a truly magical atmosphere, while the sculptures on the cathedral’s walls seem to send you back in time and make you feel the echo of footsteps on the cobblestones of a truly Mediaeval city.

Mont Saint Michel, France

Mont Saint Michel from afar

Mont Saint Michel, located in Normandy, France, is an iconic Gothic city that rises dramatically from the sea. This medieval marvel is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a popular tourist destination.

This village sits atop a rock formation in the ocean and is known as one of the most beautiful islands in France. It is characterized most by the huge cathedral in its center called The Abbey of Mont Saint Michel – which is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture.

Explore the abbey’s intricate architecture, majestic halls, and breathtaking views of the surrounding bay. Wander through the narrow, winding streets of the village, lined with medieval houses, shops, and restaurants.

Experience the most magical natural phenomena as the tides change. Transforming the surrounding of Mont Saint Michel from grass to all water. This is known as the “Tidal Bore” as the sea rushes in changing the landscape completely!

Laon, France

Laon old town

Laon, one of the best Gothic cities in Europe, is another pretty French town where you can find a treasure trove of prime Mediaeval jewels. One of the most brilliant of them is the Laon Cathedral.

To continue on your journey into French architectural history stroll around the town and sit down at one of its cozy cafes to imagine what being in Mediaeval France was like.

Venice, Italy

Venice is one of the best Gothic cities in Europe where you can enjoy Mediaeval architecture and influencers all around. It is easily one of the prettiest cities in Italy that attracts people from around the world eager to enjoy the city’s magical allure.

Colorful carnival masks at a traditional festival in Venice, Italy

Venice not only offers amazing Gothic architecture but also hosts the iconic Venice carnival that takes place in February every year. This special event traces its origins back to the Middle Ages!

Must Visit Gothic Attractions in Venice:
🏰 Doge’s Palace
🏰 le Ca d’Oro
🏰 Fortuny Palace

Don’t forget to ride a gondola to see the Gothic marvels of Venice from the water.

Siena, Italy

Another wonderful gothic city is Siena, Italy. It is one of Tuscany’s most beautiful places to visit and one of the Middle Ages’ most significant Gothic cities in Europe. Here you can find a blend of Gothic and Romanesque architecture.

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Travel to its UNESCO-listed downtown to admire its magnificent Duomo di Siena, a huge cathedral quite similar to Florence Cathedral, or the 77m-tall tower Torre del Mangia dominating the Palazzo Pubblico.

Climb on it for a bird’s-eye-view of the town and imagine a time long ago of the Medieval ages in Italy.

Must Visit Gothic Attractions in Siena:
🏰 Duomo di Siena
🏰 Torre del Mangia
🏰 Palazzo Pubblico

Dubrovnik, Croatia


The Old Town of Dubrovnik is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a true Gothic gem. Walk along the ancient city walls, which circle the town, offering panoramic views of the Adriatic Sea and the terracotta rooftops below. Admire the Pile Gate and wander through its narrow cobblestone streets.

Explore the impressive Gothic-Renaissance architecture of the city’s main street, Stradun. Admire landmarks like the Sponza Palace, the Rector’s Palace, and the Franciscan Monastery, which houses one of the oldest pharmacies in Europe.

Must Visit Gothic Attractions in Dubrovnik:
🏰 Pile Gate
🏰 Sponza Palace
🏰 Rector’s Palace
🏰 Franciscan Monastery

Dubrovnik is a gothic city that captivates visitors with its history, architecture, and breathtaking views. Exploring this UNESCO World Heritage site will transport you to another era and leave you with memories of its timeless beauty.

Brugge, Belgium

Brugge canal view

Visiting Bruges is like stepping into a medieval fairy tale, with its picturesque canals, cobblestone streets, and stunning Gothic architecture. A must-visit destination, Bruges boasts iconic Gothic landmarks such as the Bruges Belfry, Basilica of the Holy Blood, and the Church of Our Lady.

Walking through its well-preserved medieval center, enjoying Belgian chocolate, and taking a canal cruise are some of the many experiences that make Bruges an unforgettable Gothic gem in Europe, perfect for history and architecture enthusiasts.

Must Visit Gothic Attractions in Brugge:
🏰 Bruges Belfry
🏰 Basilica of the Holy Blood
🏰 City Hall
🏰 Gruuthuse museum
🏰 Franciscan Monastery

Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona is a captivating city with a unique blend of Gothic and modernist architecture. Known for its rich cultural heritage, Barcelona features stunning Gothic landmarks like the Gothic Quarter (Barri Gòtic), where narrow streets are lined with medieval buildings, and the magnificent Barcelona Cathedral.

The highlight is undoubtedly Antoni Gaudí’s Sagrada Família, an iconic masterpiece of Gothic Revival architecture.

Exploring Barcelona’s Gothic side offers travelers a chance to immerse themselves in history and art while savoring the city’s vibrant atmosphere, making it a top Gothic destination in Europe.

Must Visit Gothic Attractions in Barcelona:
🏰 Gothic Quarter
🏰 Barcelona Cathedral
🏰 Sagrada Família
🏰 Gruuthuse museum
🏰 Franciscan Monastery

Frequently Asked Questions

Which city has the most Gothic architecture?

Prague is often regarded as the city with the most extensive collection of Gothic architecture in Europe.

It has an abundance of Gothic structures, including the iconic St. Vitus Cathedral, Charles Bridge, and the historic Old Town Square, offering a wealth of Gothic heritage in its picturesque streets and landmarks.

What is the largest Gothic cathedral in Europe?

The largest Gothic cathedral in Europe is the Seville Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See (Catedral de Santa María de la Sede) in Seville, Spain.

It is renowned for its stunning Gothic architecture and is recognized as the largest cathedral in the world by volume.

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Take up the challenge of uncovering the Mediaeval spirit of the most picture-perfect Gothic cities in Europe on your European Gothic tour. When on the road, don’t miss out on the great Gothic paintings, sculptures, and Gothic novels which will always remind you that the Middle Ages have survived long past the Renaissance.

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