If you are heading to Europe and wondering what the most beautiful cities in Europe are, then I have some news for you. Every city, town, and village in Europe is beautiful and captivating in its own way. However, there are some places that stand out from the others and if you are looking for the most beautiful cities in Europe, I have them all here for you!
The best thing about Europe is that it is an extremely diverse continent. Although all the countries are very close together, they all are completely different in their architecture, history, landscapes, climates and more! The cities on this list are unique and special in their own way, and this list is not an exhaustive list, I’m sure there could be an additional 20 beautiful cities to add that would also be fitting.
However, to give you an idea of the beauty Europe holds the top 20 have been determined. Prepare to be amazed by the most beautiful cities in Europe and enjoy the cobblestone streets, mountain views, delicious food, vibrant colors, amazing feats of nature and much more.
20 Most Beautiful Cities in Europe
In This Post
Positano, Italy is one of the most famous and picturesque cities in Europe. Its beauty is evident in the photos but is even more astonishing in person. Positano is a very small village, but from every angle and vantage point, Positano shows a stunning sight to see.
What makes Positano one of the most beautiful cities in Europe is its unique landscape and location. It is located along the coast of Italy and the whole front of the village is lined by a vibrant beach, and beyond that are vivid blue waters.
More so, Positano is built vertically into the mountains so the homes and buildings extend upwards with the increasing elevation of the mountain. This has resulted in a very unique city view, where you can see the whole city in one look. What’s even better is that the buildings in Positano are all vibrant pastel-coloured and look like something from a fairytale.
Beyond the verticle buildings in Positano are even more mountains that reach high in the air. The city is surrounded by towering mountains that just add to the beauty of the village.
Positano is one of the most charming cities in Europe. Its diverse landscape of mountains and sea is unmatched and are a must-visit for anyone looking for a stunning travel destination.
Read More: Top Things to do in Positano, Italy
Amsterdam is the capital city of the Netherlands and is a city packed with charm and beauty. Many people who have not been to Amsterdam think it is just a party city, however, they could not be more wrong. Of course, there is that side to Amsterdam, but beyond that is the beautiful and historic side of Amsterdam.
The city itself is a maze of winding canals lined with quirky and colourful houses. The houses are iconic and, on every street, you will find a different one with something to admire. One could easily spend hours walking the streets, admiring the architecture, and exploring the parks. What’s even better is that you can take a canal boat ride and see the city from the water which is beyond magical.
When the sun goes down in Amsterdam the streetlights turn on and reflect in the water of the canals, and the city begins to sparkle! Amsterdam is a city with more than meets the eye, and should not be ignored as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.
Read More: Amsterdam Weekend Guide
Santorini is an island in Greece that is warm weather, a blue-hued wonderland. All the most iconic photos of Greece’s blue and white buildings are in Oia Santorini and beyond these buildings are stretching blue waters. This is the ultimate romance spot in Europe and is a top location for honeymooners.
If you are looking for sun, beautiful architecture, great food, and stunning views Santorini is for you. One of the best aspects of this stunning destination is the sunset views. From up in the hills you have panoramic views of the sea and beyond that, you can watch the sunset brilliantly into the waterline. The views and atmosphere make it an easy addition as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.
Santorini should be your first stop for a romantic getaway or to enjoy a warm, beach vacation in Europe.
Venice is an Italian dream destination that is full of colourful houses, blue water canals, romantic gondolas, and the smell of pizza. This is another small city but is still one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. Venice is always featured as a romantic and stunning destination in all films and television shows.
The beauty and draw of Venice are even more astonishing in person. There are gondolas being rowed slowly on the canals, and sometimes they even sing, it looks and feels like something from a fairytale. More so, the buildings are all pastel-coloured which further enhances the beautiful atmosphere.
Having a glass of wine and fresh pizza while sitting in a busy square or along a canal is beyond magical. You will easily see why this is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.
Read More: How to spend one day in Venice
Prague, Czech Republic
Prague, Czech Republic is consistently voted one of the best cities in the world! The city is filled with a striking mix of gothic and medieval architecture, lively squares, hilltop views, and lust-worthy streets. The best thing about Prague is that it is a very big city, which means the tourists are more spread out and admiring the beauty of the structures is more authentic.
The mix of black gothic architecture with the pastel-coloured buildings is both interesting and beautiful. It is an odd combination but in Prague, it works. What’s great is that Prague has a castle on top of a large hill and from the town you get a panoramic view of all of Prague. A visit to Prague will have you falling in love with one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.
Read More: Top things to do in Prague, CZ
Paris is the city of love, beauty, and history. It is a massive European city that is packed with beautiful sights to see and areas to admire. When you think of beautiful citifies in Europe, Paris is usually one of the first cities that pops into your head. It is that dream travel destination that is the epitome of European beauty.
Pairs is even more beautiful and magical in person. There are so many different areas in the city and all with their own unique things to see. There is no shortage of beauty scattered around the city, from monuments like the Eiffel Tower to the Louvre to Notre Dame to The Arc De Triomphe and so many more.
One of the most magical things to do in Paris is to watch the Eiffel tower sparkle once it is dark. Beyond the world-renowned monuments, the Parisian streets are full of life and colour. There are many different neighbourhoods within the city that are stunning to explore.
All of this combined makes Paris one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.
Read More: How to spend one weekend in Paris
Porto is a stunning coastal city that is characterized by its medieval riverside district and colorful buildings. The whole city is a maze of hills and mesmerizing architecture. One of the main features of the city is the huge bridge that connects the two sides of the city, walking across it gives a new perspective to the city and the views are magical. From the top of the bridge, you will look down over the city and see why it is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.
Walking the cobblestone streets, viewing the azulejo buildings, and stopping for a drink along the river is as good as it gets. Porto is also where JK Rowling is said to have gained most of her inspiration for Harry Potter, which adds an interesting appeal to the city.
Read More: 2 Days in Porto, the ULTIMATE Itinerary
The Balkans are a beautiful part of Europe and have long been ignored, especially the beautiful country of Montenegro. Montenegro is a tiny country located along the Adriatic Sea. It is extremely historic and packed with beaches. Although the whole country is full of beautiful cities one of the most beautiful is Kotor.
Kotor is a quaint city located inside the Bay of Kotor and is surrounded by the huge limestone cliffs of Mt. Lovćen. The city is characterized by its winding cobblestone streets inside the huge fortified walls. Here you will find medieval architecture and many Romanesque churches. The old town is historic and beautiful to explore but the real beauty is from above.
A 40-minute hike up the mountain to The Castle of San Giovanni and you get stunning panoramic views of all of Kotor and the Bay from above. There are very few views like this one, which makes it one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, that should be on everyone’s bucket list.
Read More: Top 10 Places to Visit in Montenegro
Looking for beaches, old towns, and historic squares? Look for further than Split, Croatia. Split is another Balkan beauty that is packed with stunning sights to see. The city itself is all white stone and winding streets. It feels like you are on the set of a medieval film! What makes it even better is that the city lines the Adriatic Sea and you can find blue water beaches all around.
In addition to the city itself, Croatia is in close proximity to other stunning islands and National parks. Islands such as Brac and Hvar are a must-see, and Krka National Park is absolutely stunning! Split and the surrounding cities are easily some of the most beautiful cities in Europe!
Read More: A Guide to the Best Split Beaches
Bruges, Belgium has quickly become one of the hottest European travel destinations due to its beauty. Until recently Bruges was not a hot stop while visiting Europe, however, now it is on most travellers to visit list. It is a fairytale medieval city with cobblestone streets, gingerbread buildings, and large canals.
Bruges is not only one of the most beautiful cities in Europe but also one of the most romantic. It is a hotspot for couples who flock to this picturesque town to explore the parks, charming streets, and beautiful buildings.
Budapest is on almost every list of the most beautiful cities in Europe, and for good reason. Due to its stunning architecture and setting, Budapest is often called “Paris of the North”. Budapest is the capital city of Hungary and is packed with unique buildings and sites to admire that is unlike any other city in Europe.
What makes Budapest even more special is its deep history. The city was hit hard during World War 2 but came back from the hard times to become the beauty it is today. More so, Budapest is full of natural thermal baths and can enjoy their beauty and wonder at many baths throughout the city.
Read More: 2 Days in Budapest
Poland is an up-and-coming tourist destination and one of the most beautiful places to visit within Poland is Gdansk. Gdansk is an old and colorful town with beautiful buildings, winding streets, and old cathedrals. If you like colourful gingerbread houses this is the perfect place for you!
One of the best things about Gdansk that makes it different from all the others on this list is that it is not as popular as theirs. Therefore, there are fewer people exploring which makes it much more enjoyable. The colourful streets and intimate explorations make Gdansk one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.
Nice is a magical city in the South of France. If you are looking for blue waters, beaches, palm trees, and colorful buildings, this is the European destination for you! Nice’s beauty is very unlike other places in France. The blue water beach is like something out of a fairy tale and gives the perfect mix of European architecture and a tropical environment.
The best thing about Nice is that with just a short walk up a hill you get the most beautiful views of the whole coast and city. This stunning city should be on everyone’s bucket list as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.
Read More: One Day in Nice, France
European cities that have a tumultuous past but have come back from the ashes even better than before seem to be a theme for the most beautiful places to visit in Europe. This holds very true for Belgrade, Serbia, a city that has been fighting for a long time and has finally regained its footing. It is a city full of beauty!
Belgrade is full of beautiful architecture, pretty streets, and one of the most well-kept and mesmerizing fortresses in Europe. It is a city full of surprises and hidden streets of beauty. The best part is Belgrade is an off-the-beaten-path European destination and its beauty hasn’t been disrupted by tourism just yet.
Read More: What to do in Belgrade, Serbia
Copenhagen is the capital city of Denmark and is not only one of the many beautiful Nordic cities sitting in the North of Europe. In addition to because beautiful, Copenhagen is also charming, inviting, and full of character. The city is located along the coast and is best known for its bright and colorful houses and lust-worthy Danish fashion and design.
Denmark has also been named the happiest country on earth, which makes Copenhagen the capital of the happiest country. If you are looking for stunning buildings, colorful streets and delicious food this is the place for you! This is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Europe that will leave you craving more Nordic cities.
There are very few places in the world as special as Rome, Italy. This city is huge and absolutely packed with beauty and history. There are so many iconic landmarks like the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish steps and much more. The architectural brilliance combined with the historic significance of all the structures in Rome makes it undoubtedly one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.
The best thing about Rome is that there is never-ending beauty to discover. The sheer size of the city will shock you and around every corner and street is something exciting to discover. It’s also the perfect place to brush up on your roman history.
Switzerland is a stunning country and every city has something unique and beautiful to offer. From mountain ranges to old architecture to blue waters, there is something to see everywhere. However, the most beautiful city in Switzerland has to be Zurich.
This is the cleanest city I have ever been to, the streets were so spotless you could have eaten off them (literally). The clean streets, lovely waterfront and pre-medieval buildings are mesmerizing. Zurich is the financial and banking district of Switzerland and holds billions of dollars from citizens from around the world. You can almost feel the money in the air.
What’s also great about Zurich is that it is quite close to a ton of small villages with captivating mountain ranges and blue bodies of water. This is great because going on a quick journey to the smaller villages in Switzerland is a breeze from Zurich.
The Nordics are the epitome of beauty, and amongst all the beautiful countries and cities within it, we have breathtaking Stockholm, Sweden. Stockholm is a welcoming and warm city that is without a doubt one of the most beautiful places to visit in Europe. The streets are clean, the buildings are architecturally brilliant, and there is magic in the air. It is undeniably one of the most beautiful cities in Europe!
One of the best parts of Stockholm is the Old Town, Gamla Stan. It is a small area with some of the most beautiful and vibrant colored buildings in the Nordics. Heading here with show you why the Nordics are so lusted after and show you all the beauty Stockholm has to offer.
Read More: 48 Hours in Stockholm, Sweden
Colmar is a small town in France very near the border of Germany. It is an old town with some of the most unique and charming medieval/early Renaissance buildings in all of Europe. There are very few places that remain this beautiful year-round, but this has to be one of the few that has its charm and beauty in all seasons.
What’s great about Colmar is that it is located on the Alsace Wine Route which means there are local vineyards all around that specialize in wines! Therefore, you can enjoy one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, while sipping on local wines. Does it get any better?
Away from the rest of the European hub is not only one of the most beautiful cities in Europe but possibly in the whole world. Iceland is completely different from anywhere else you will visit in Europe. Iceland is truly unique and has a dramatic landscape characterized by lava fields, geothermal hot springs, exploding geysers, magnetic waterfalls, and volcanoes.
The capital of Iceland is Reykjavik, which is a quaint but beautiful Nordic city full of deep-coloured houses, charming cafes, and lovely shops. Reykjavik is the perfect place to stay in Iceland when you visit and also to explore. There is a ton of beauty beyond Reykjavik that is well worth exploring, however, many people ignore the beauty within Reykjavik when there is quite a bit to see and discover.
Read More: 3 Day Iceland Itinerary
Located along Spain’s east coast sits the stunning city of Valencia. Valencia is a magical place with an old town full of colourful stone buildings, orange trees lining the streets, and a huge white sandy beach. It is undeniably one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. What makes Valencia even more beautiful is that it is not as touristy as other cities in Spain, meaning you can explore and enjoy the city without being in huge crowds.
Spending 2 days in Valencia will give you the perfect amount of time to see and enjoy most of the city. The highlight will likely be the beautiful old town where you can roam around and view things like the Valencia Cathedral, The Palace of the Marquis of Dos Aguas, and much more. If you are looking for a dreamy and underrated city, Valencia is for you.
This list of the most beautiful cities in Europe is definitely long, but not remotely exhaustive. There are so so many beautiful places in Europe and this post only scratches the surface. Although, if you are planning a visit to Europe be sure to head to some of these places on the list, you will not be disappointed.
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This is such a great list! I’ve been to many, but still have a few left on my bucket list. Of those I’ve experienced first-hand, I’d say that Amsterdam and Budapest are the most beautiful. I sooooo loved my time in each of them!
Nicola Hilditch-Short says
Great list!! I’ve been to quite a lot of them and love how they are all beautiful but in different ways with different vibes and architecture. For us we just loved Copenhagen, such a lovely city but our favourite from this list has to be Budapest! Another addition for us would be Sarajevo and Mostar in Bosnia and Bled and ljubljana in Slovenia.
Samantha Karen says
Ah yes I’ve had Copenhagen on my list of places to visit forever!
Jamie Italiane says
So many great options on this list! I would add Edinburgh, such a charming city!
Wow that’s some compilation! I have been to only 2 out of the 20 listed here and I feel so ashamed. But I would love to tick off the other 18. I would like to add Krakow to this list though, it’s so underrated!
Such a great list! We’ve been to handful on your list most recently being Brugge. We absolutely loved this beautiful medieval city. We would love to visit Venice someday. We’ve been to the Venice Canals in Venice, California which is a small scale replica of the real Venice, which I’m sure is just a tiny slice of what the real Venice has to offer.
Michael Hodgson says
You certainly lined up the classic places to visit in Europe. We tend to prefer the smaller cities though as they are less obvious, and less crowded, and every bit as stunning. Regensburg in Germany for example, is incredibly beautiful and sitting on the Danube makes for an amazing place to visit. As you point out, you just can’t go wrong with most places in Europe.
Samantha Karen says
Yes the smaller places are beautiful as well. I would love to visit some smaller places in the coming year to make a new list!
Annick Lenoir-Peek says
This is a great list and includes lots of places that have been on my bucket list for a while. I’m finally going back to Europe next year so will be able to cross of even more. My problem is that I love Paris so much that I keep wanting to go back!
Samantha Karen says
Ahh thats my problem aswell!! I love Paris and most places on this list and always just want to go back.
Kevin | Caffeinated Excursions says
I love your inclusion of some well-known capitals as well as some smaller towns. Having read your posts featuring Amsterdam, I totally agree that it is stunning despite having never been (yet)! I loved Santorini as well. The architecture in Oia is unlike anywhere else in the world. Great post, thanks for the European travel inspiration!
Despite fairly extensive travels in Europe, I’ve somehow only been to 6 of these cities. You’ve included a really diverse set of places! I guess I have 14 more to put on the list. You always have the most stunning photos – I get so much wanderlust from your guides!
great selections of cities, though i wouldn’t include Reykjavik in there, as much as i loved Iceland Reykjavik wasnt pretty at all. Anyway great article
Chris Toone | Toone's Travels says
Great list, Sam! Thanks for sharing. Venice is definitely up there, but it was great to see you include other, lesser known/visited cities and countries like Belgrade and Kotor! Hidden beauty in everything… sometimes we just have to look for it, right? I think Innsbruck, Austria is another great one… if you haven’t checked it out yet, I’d highly recommend it!
Samantha Karen says
Thank you! I like both popular and off the beaten track. I’ve been hearing a lot about Innsbruck and guess I have to add it to my list now!
What a great list of beautiful European cities! I can’t wait to get back to Europe and visit some of them again.
Great post! Also, I love the entire aesthetic of your site! Great job.
Not even one Spanish city, wow! It’s surprising, being Spain the 2nd most visited country in the whole world, right after France.
Samantha Karen says
I LOVE Spain! I want to make a part two to this post since I wasn’t able to fit all the most beautiful 🙂
Runaway Ann says
Thank you for putting my hometown Gdansk on the list 😉 If you wish to get some travel tips while beeing there just let me know 😀
Not a German city either 😉 but travel and where you can and will travel is highly subjective and therefore everyone’s Top 20 will be different. Have been to some of the cities you list and some of them are insanely beautiful. We are lucky here in Europe that in a relatively small area, places can be so diverse