Recently I shared with you all my favourite fairy tale towns in Europe and because there were so many great suggestions for a city-style post of the same kind, here we are again with my handpicked selection of the prettiest cities in Europe that still have that beautiful small-town feel. While I believe I could have gone on writing about my favourite cities in Europe forever (I’m only a few countries shy of visiting all of Europe), I think I’ve managed to finally narrow it down to the absolute prettiest cities in Europe and why you should visit them. And if you need more inspiration, check out my travels on Instagram.
Although I visited Denmark in the grey blanket known as winter, I couldn’t have been more mesmerised by this sprawling city that still somehow felt like a quaint, charming little town in parts. Undoubtedly my favourite area in town is Nyhaven, the colourful seaside dock, lined with gorgeous cafes offering blankets and outdoor fires in the colder months.
With its iconic canals and picturesque tree-lined avenues, Amsterdam is a strong contender for the prettiest city in all of Europe. Popular year-round despite the cold winter temperatures, the city is a tourist mecca and especially hard to visit during the summer months. I’d recommend visiting in the shoulder season to avoid both the tourists and the crowds – however this city truly is beautiful no matter what time of year!
Read more: Amsterdam Bucket List
Another popular city but so beautiful it can’t be missed is Venice in Northern Italy. The gorgeous canals, singing gondeliers and colourful facades are reason enough to visit – what more could you ask of a city built in the Renaissance period!?
Of all the cities I hold dear, Vienna is one that truly captured my heart upon first visit. While the architecture is stunning, I strongly urge you to head indoors and discover two of my favourite passtimes in Vienna: Coffee houses and art museums.
Read more: Vienna Bucket list & A Quick Guide to the Vienna Coffee Houses
Prague, Czech Republic
With a unique blend of architecture over the ages, Prague has a distinctly gothic heart and yet seemingly comes to life over the summer months with colourful greenery and sunlit facades that immediately make the city more inviting. Charles Bridge is an obvious standout, but be sure to wander further down the Vltava River to check out the Fred & Ginger dancing house!
Read More: Prague Bucket List & 3 Days in Prague
There’s a high chance Ljubljana is the single most underrated capital city in all of Europe. The capital of Slovenia has a similar charm to Paris, however with much less crowds and much more of a small town feel. Even if you visit for just a day, this city is worth stopping at!
Read more: One Day in Ljubljana
There’s no denying Zurich is one of the most gorgeous cities to visit in Switzerland so its no surprise that it is one of the most frequented by travellers. With the lake, the old town and the incredible surprise of Swiss pastries… you can’t go wrong!
Read More: How to Spend 48 Hours in Zurich
This list just wouldn’t be complete without mention of Paris. Charming in an old world kinda way, colourful in Spring and beautifully warm in Summer… there really is no bad time to find yourself in Paris!
Read More: A Walking Guide to Paris
St Petersburg, Russia
My all time favourite city in Russia (okay, to be fair I have only visited two), is St Petersburg. The history of this city is absolutely fascinating and if you have the time to dig a little deeper, I’d highly recommend brushing up on your history lessons before visiting – it will make your time here all the more enjoyable! Absolutely do not miss the Hermitage Museum and Peterhof Palace.
Read more: St Petersburg Bucket List!
Travelling between France and Germany comes with at least one great positive: the Alsace region. As someone who loves both cultures – the food, languages, people and architecture, I am in my absolute element when visiting the Alsace region. This area has changed hands between France and Germany many times over the year, resulting in an intriguing region that offers a blend of both cultures. One of my all time favourite regions in Europe!
Read more: A Quick Guide to Strasbourg
And of course – Lisbon! As one of the most colourful and vibrant cities of Europe, Lisbon is currently undergoing a complete resurgence as one of the most popular, trending cities to visit in Europe at present. I’d recommend at least a few days in Lisbon to get a feel for the city, its great food and even greater hospitality!
Read more: A Quick Guide to Lisbon