20 Best Cities to Visit in Europe in 2024 20 Best Cities to Visit in Europe in 2024

20 Best Cities to Visit in Europe in 2024

Europe is the continent that has it all! It’s home to some of the most diverse countries in the world, each with entirely different architecture, food, language, and landscapes. The cities, in particular, are remarkable; they have some of the oldest buildings in the world yet also offer an urban landscape that’s youthful, fun, and cutting-edge. Whether it’s the cozy cafes of Copenhagen, the sun-drenched streets of Seville, or the canals of Venice, there’s a destination for every type of traveler. Explore the 20 best cities to visit in Europe!

Best European Cities to Visit 

There are so many wonderful cities to visit in Europe that it can be hard to decide. Maybe you want the cozy Christmas markets and snow-covered roofs of Krakow in the winter? Or perhaps you want to visit the renowned historical site of the Acropolis in Athens?

Choosing where you’ll go depends on when you want to visit and what kind of trip you’re after. Discover the place for you with this complete list of the best cities to visit in Europe.

1. Krakow, Poland

Despite its somber history, Krakow has come back stronger than ever. In fact, it’s now considered one of the best European cities to visit! Its history is incredibly important, and visiting Auschwitz is an absolute must-do while you’re there. However, there’s also much to be celebrated in this wonderful city.

best cities to visit in europe krakow poland jewish quarter

For example, the beautiful historical buildings, pretty squares, street musicians, murals, and castles. Visit in winter, for the true fairytale experience, with snow on the rooftops, twinkling Christmas lights, and roasted chestnuts.

Where to Stay in Krakow

Krakow’s old town is the most popular area to stay in. However, hotels are generally more affordable outside the old city walls. Alternatively, stay in the hipster neighborhood of Kazimierz.

We stayed at a perfect location on the border of the old town near the park at Vienna House Krakow.

best cities to visit in europe krakow

Day Trip to Zalipie

Depending on how many days you’re in Krakow, we recommend joining a tour and doing a half-day trip to Zalipie. This cute village is famous for its artwork painted on the houses and folk culture.

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20 Best Cities to Visit in Europe in 2024

Every year, there is a cottage painting competition in Zalipie, with locals competing for the most original and artistic folk paintings.

Zalipie painted village poland

2. Seville, Spain

Seville is one of Spain’s most beautiful cities, located deep in the heart of Andalusia. It is one of the best European cities to visit! Here, flamenco is not just a dance but a way of life, and the sound of castanets and Spanish guitar will never be far away.

best cities to visit in europe seville spain

Not only is it one of Spain’s most authentic and traditional cities, but it’s also home to some of the most spectacular Moorish architecture. The most notable place for this is the Alcazar: a Moorish palace that’s been beautifully preserved.

best cities to visit in europe seville Real Alcazar

Spend half a day wandering around the palace, absorbing all the intricate details of the tilework and wooden carvings. Outside of the palace, you can discover the immaculate gardens with their manicured hedges, unique flowers, and vibrant orange trees.

best cities to visit in europe seville Plaza de Espana

In the evenings, watch a flamenco show, have a drink down by the river at sunset, or enjoy one of the many atmospheric tapas bars in the city.

Where to Stay in Seville

Every neighborhood in Seville has a different atmosphere. For example, the beautiful historic center, authentic Triana, or Santa Cruz with its boutique hotels

Tip: Choose a room with aircon or a rooftop pool if visiting in the spring/summer. This is the perfect idea to cool down in the afternoons when the rest of the city is having a siesta.

seville things to do Santa Cruz

3. Athens, Greece

Athens is totally distinct from any other city you’ll visit in Europe. It’s famous worldwide for the Acropolis, an icon of ancient Greek Architecture and one of the oldest standing temples left on the planet!

best cities europe akropolis athens greece

Built in the 5th century BC, you can witness it in all its glory from many places around the city. In fact, the terraces and balconies of restaurants, bars, and apartments are all set up for viewing the Acropolis. So even if you’re in the most modern part of town, you can still see the ancient history of Athens

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athens greece best cities europe

Cafe culture is also huge in Athens. You’ll see people enjoying the terraces of bars and restaurants, and enjoying the long warm summer days. In the evening, this culture continues to rooftop bars, where you can get fantastic views of the city and the Acropolis under a dusky pink sky.

street athens greece best city europe

Surprisingly, Athens has also become a hub for street art, so explore all the little corners of the streets and discover the meanings behind some interesting murals.

plaka athens greece best cities europe

Tip: Head for the charming neighborhood of Plaka. The cute houses and cobbled streets are more reminiscent of Santorini than an urban city. It’s also a great spot to get you excited if you’re headed off on a Greek island-hopping trip!

Where to Stay in Athens

There are loads of great neighborhoods in Athens for every kind of traveler. For somewhere a little less crowded and with an authentic, local vibe, check out Thissio or Petralona.

Alternatively, if Athens nightlife is what you’re here for, Psirri is young and vibrant, with loads of bars and restaurants. Click here to see all hostels in Athens

best cities europe athens greece

4. Utrecht, Netherlands

Utrecht is a smaller (and less touristy!) version of Amsterdam. It’s kept its Dutch authenticity, with its beautiful townhouse facades and canals, making it one of the best cities to visit in Europe! Get lost among the gorgeous cobblestone streets, with pastel-painted houses, pretty flower gardens, and Dutch bikes parked out front.

best cities to visit in europe utrecht netherlands

Make sure to also head down to Oude Gracht (the old canal) with its quays and warehouses. Many of these buildings have been turned into urban dining spaces with terraces along the waterside where you can sit and enjoy the views. You can even hire an electric boat to discover the city via its canals (a sustainable way to travel!).

utrecht guide canals

To get up high, climb the 465 steps to the top of the Dom tower (14th-century gothic church). It costs 9 EUR (8.85 USD) for entry, which is well worth it for the panoramic viewing platform at the top, where you can look out over the city.

utrecht city guide

Did you know? The famous children’s book author Dick Bruna (writer of Miffy) was born in Utrecht. As the Miffy books became so famous, you’ll find the white rabbit illustration all around the city, including on traffic lights! There’s even a museum dedicated to Miffy.

Where to Stay in Utrecht

Utrecht has a good selection of accommodations throughout the entire city, from upscale hotels to trendy hostels.

It is recommended to stay near to the old city center where most of the things to do in Utrecht are located.

best cities to visit in europe netherlands utrecht

5. Istanbul, Turkey

Visiting Istanbul is a sensory experience like no other. Everywhere you look, there’s color, from the markets with their vibrant textiles and spices to the painted houses of Balat.

best cities to visit in europe istanbul

Uniquely located on the cusp of both Europe and Asia, the city acts like a bridge between two continents, combining the cultures of both. The same goes for architecture; you’ll find extraordinary mosques and palaces (decorated with the finest tilework) next to cobbled streets and French-style cafes.

best things to do istanbul Suleymaniye Mosque

Spend a couple of days visiting the most important religious buildings in Istanbul, exploring the diverse neighborhoods, and shopping for traditional Turkish produce in the Grand Bazaar. Undoubtedly, Istanbul is one of the best cities to visit in Europe!

best cities to visit in europe istanbul turkey

Tip: Don’t miss out on this secret rooftop in Istanbul at Nova Şantiye Cafe. The gorgeous rooftop is decorated with ruby-red textiles, where you can sit and enjoy some food while looking out over the rooftops of Istanbul.

Where to Stay in Istanbul

Hotels and hostels in Istanbul are available throughout the entire city. If you want to stay close to the majority of historical sites, we recommend staying in the area of Sultanahmet.

Alternatively, for nightlife and the majority of luxury hotels, choose the suburb of Taksim, which has great transport connections by metro, cable car, and funicular.

istanbul best cities to visit in europe

6. Lisbon, Portugal (Best European Cities to Visit!)

Lisbon is infectious and known as one of the best cities to visit in Europe. In fact, travelers love it so much that it’s become a hub for digital nomads looking to call the city home.

lisbon travel

At first glance, the city is like a smaller San Francisco with its steep hills, trams, industrial bridges, and waterside location. However, look a little closer, and you’ll find all the most beautiful parts of Portuguese culture.

For example, Fado singers in small bars, the white and blue Azulejos tiles, and the freshly baked Portuguese custard tarts. 

best cities to visit in europe portugal lisbon

Spend your days in Lisbon enjoying the outdoor way of life, listening to live music by the water, wandering to all the beautiful viewpoints and bridges, and exploring the cute boutique shops, libraries, and bookstores.

Tip: If you have time, take a day trip to the nearby fairytale landscape of Sintra. This colorfully painted castle sits high on the hill overlooking the gorgeous Portuguese countryside. It’s a UNESCO world heritage site and a top thing to see while visiting Lisbon. 

Where to Stay in Lisbon

Lisbon’s best neighborhoods to stay in are the charming old town: Barrio Alto and Alfama, or in the center at Baixa and Chiado.

Lisbon is also a haven for backpackers, and there are plenty of great hostels to choose from. Please note: the old town is hilly but also quieter throughout the entire day.

belem tower lisbon portugal

7. Assisi, Italy

Assisi is the gem of Italy: undiscovered, underrated, and easily one of the best cities to visit in Europe! Nestled in the beautiful region of Umbria (Tuscany’s lesser-known neighbor), the ancient city is an important pilgrimage site, home to some stunning religious buildings and festivals.

best cities to visit in europe assisi italy

The most important building of all is the St Francis Basilica which, unusually, is comprised of two cathedrals built on top of each other.

assisi italy best cities to visit in europe

If you’re visiting in May, you’ll also have the opportunity to see the Calendimaggio festival, when locals dress up in costume from medieval times and take to the labyrinth-like streets of Assisi. Visiting Assisi is like being transported back in time!

Explore the Region of Umbria

Assisi is definitely a city to visit in its own right, but it’s also a great jumping-off point to explore the rest of the region, home to beautiful lakes, waterfalls, castles, wineries, and viewpoints. In fact, one of the best viewpoints in the whole region is just outside of the city. Sit up here, overlooking the beautiful valley with wild horses roaming all around.

Where to Stay in Assisi

Immerse yourself in the town’s charm by staying in a guesthouse in the center and see how the medieval town lights up when it gets dark.

Alternatively, soak up the peace and quiet of the surrounding countryside by staying in a beautiful agriturismo (farm stay). There are lots of accommodation options to choose from in Assisi, Italy.

umbria italy best things to do assisi

8. Paris, France

Paris is known worldwide as ‘the city of love’, and there’s no doubt that you’ll fall in love with this fantastic city. As such, it’s only fitting that the capital city of France would make it to the list of best cities to visit in Europe. Plus, it has the beauty, history, and food to back it up.

best cities to visit in europe paris eiffel tower

Activities in Paris

While you’re in Paris, make sure to explore the charming district of Montmartre, home to pastel-colored houses, cute balconies, and the remarkable Sacre-Coeur (which, from its high position, has incredible views of the city). It’s also the birthplace of the Moulin Rouge, and you can still go and see the show today. However, make sure to book in advance as it sells out quickly.

best cities to visit in europe paris louvre

See the most famous sights in Paris, like the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and Notre Dame. Alternatively, for a unique perspective, book a boat ride along the Seine, enjoying some traditional French food and a glass of champagne as you go—ooh la la! 

Where to Stay in Paris

The best area to stay in Paris is Le Marais if you want access to everything right on your doorstep. You’ll be in the middle of trendy restaurants and shops and can walk or take the metro to most sights.

Alternatively, find a hotel in Montmartre, which is just outside the center and full of character and charming streets.

best things to do paris Arc de Triomphe

9. Madrid, Spain

The capital city of Spain, Madrid, boasts a million-and-one things to do. Culture vultures can delight in all the fantastic museums. For example, the Prado Museum, which is one of the most famous art museums in the world. On the other hand, if you’re a shopper, Madrid will have you hooked, with its great malls and its fantastic vintage and antique markets that are held at the weekends. 

things to do madrid Reina Sofia Museum

What’s unique about Madrid is that each neighborhood will give you a distinctly different feeling. From the lively bars and nightlife of Chueca to the narrow streets and sloping hills of authentic La Latina. Wherever you go, exciting spaces have been transformed into restaurants, bars, and experiences, or stunning rooftop bars where you’ll get great views of the cityscape.

Where to Stay in Madrid

There are loads of awesome neighborhoods in Madrid, from the cool Malasana to the multicultural Lavapies, where you’ll find lots of great budget accommodation options. The central area of Salamanca is also nice, although it’s a little more expensive.

Where you choose to stay is very much dependent on your budget. However, because of the easy access to the metro, you could really stay anywhere in Madrid!

things to do madrid train station

10. Valletta, Malta

Valletta is a historical gem, often skipped in favor of the coast and islands of Malta. However, it’s one of the best cities to visit in Europe and a great weekend trip in its own right! Most unique of all, the entire city is a UNESCO world heritage site, protected as one of the first planned cities in Europe!

best cities to visit in europe malta valletta

The ancient town has some of the most magical streets to explore, home to the token limestone townhouses with their colorfully painted window boxes. It also used to be a former British colony, so you’ll still find a lot of British influence. There are even red telephone boxes!

valleta malta best cities to visit in europe

Because Valletta is hilly, there are beautiful viewpoints everywhere you go. All you need to do is go up! Head for the Upper and Lower Gardens for great views over the city rooftops and the sea below. Just across the water, you’ll see the stunning city of Birgu.

You can take one of the colorfully painted gondolas across the water (a 7-minute trip) to explore its gorgeous streets, wine bars, and village-like atmosphere.

Where to Stay in Valletta

Valletta has plenty of beautiful accommodation options, with a buzzing atmosphere and plenty of bars, restaurants, and culture nearby. Prices are often higher in Valletta than in the rest of Malta.

Tip: Birgu is a great alternative to be away from the busy streets. There are a handful of new hotels and restaurants (and more opening).

11. Venice, Italy (One of the Best Cities to Visit in Europe!)

Venice is one of the most beautiful cities to visit in Europe and arguably one of the most famous. The city is effectively a floating island, built across a network of canals and recognized for the gondola as its primary mode of transportation.

best cities to visit in europe venice italy

There’s something so romantic about this city, whether you’re wandering its maze of cobbled streets, being serenaded as you float on the canals, or eating delicious pasta next to a beautiful piazza. 

venice italy best cities to visit in europe

Whether you want an action-packed few days of sightseeing or a relaxed time eating Italian food—there’s something for every kind of traveler in Venice. We recommend staying close to the city’s center down a quiet side street in a traditional boutique hotel for the true Venice experience.

Where to Stay in Venice

Stay in the middle of the city but tucked away in a quiet street 5 minutes walking from San Marco Square at Novecento Boutique Hotel.

Tip: If you’re on a tight budget, your best option is to stay outside of Venice on the mainland.

venice Palazzo Ducale

12. Copenhagen, Denmark

Maybe one of the coolest cities to visit in Europe, Copenhagen is effortlessly chic. Denmark is thought to be one of the happiest countries in the world. It’s certainly got an infectious atmosphere, with its great coffee culture, delicious brunch cafes, and pastry shops that you can cycle between on your very own food tour. 

copenhagen best cities europe

Head to the picturesque area of Nyhavn (the most iconic part of Copenhagen), where you’ll find the traditional riverside area with its beautiful Danish houses. Closeby is the famous statue of the Little Mermaid, which is now over 100 years old! From here, jump on a boat tour along the canals to see the city and learn more about its history.

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best cities europe copenhagen

Tip: For the city’s best views, go to the round tower. This structure is unusual in that it doesn’t have stairs but a sloping ramp that winds up to the top. It’s said that horse and carriage would even have come up here at one point. 

Where to Stay in Copenhagen

Stay in the city’s old town, where you can visit all the best historical sites and have the most choice of accommodations and restaurants.

Alternatively, opt for the hipster neighborhood of Vesterbro, where you’ll find the trendiest bars and newly-developed hotels.

copenhagen denmark city europe

13. Prague, Czech Republic

The Czech Republic is known for having the most castles in the world, and Prague (the capital city) is said to have the largest. This castle even made it into the Guinness Book of World Records for its size! Inside the castle, discover the Golden Lane (a cobbled street that will take you back in time), the iconic St Vitus Cathedral, and the Royal Palace, used by Czech kings and queens throughout the ages. 

Prague Czech Republic best cities to visit in europe

However, there’s so much more to explore in Prague than just the castle. This fairytale city has to be on your list of cities to visit in Europe, with its picturesque streets, gothic architecture, and UNESCO-protected Jewish Quarter.

things to do prague Dancing House

Although Prague has so much history to learn about, the city really is one of ‘old’ and ‘new’. You can find modern sites, such as the abstract Dancing House, the vortex illusion at the Tunnel of Books, and the graffiti-covered Lennon Wall. 

Where to Stay in Prague

Prague offers accommodation for every kind of budget, with the best area being Prague 1. Alternatively, see all hotels in Prague.

We stayed in the Mosaic Design Hotel, one of the best hotels we’ve ever stayed in!

top cities to visit in europe Prague

14. Porto, Portugal

Lisbon is usually the preferred destination choice in Portugal, but we think Porto deserves a moment of appreciation. The city might be smaller and lesser known, but it packs just as much punch. Much like Lisbon, it has all the wow factor of incredible steel bridges, fantastic viewpoints, and hillside dining.

porto portugal best cities to visit in europe

Porto has the bonus of being home to port cellars, and Livraria Lello (a bookstore famous from Harry Potter). There are so many fantastic things to see in the city; travelers will never get bored.

porto portugal

Douro Valley Tour

Got a bit more time? The city hugs the banks of the beautiful Douro River, which worms its way into the nearby Douro Valley. This valley is home to all the vineyards and wineries of Portugal and is absolutely breathtaking!

Where to Stay in Porto

Stay in Ribeira if you want to be by the riverside and enjoy the night-time buzz of the city. For hillside views and a younger influx of restaurants and shops, stay near Igreja do Carmo.

douro valley portugal

15. Budapest, Hungary

Of all the cities in Europe to visit, Budapest tops the list for many. This wonderful eastern European city has a bit of everything: fun ‘ruin’ bars, converted warehouse spaces, art, fascinating history, towering bridges, and stunning ancient buildings.

best cities to visit in europe budapest

Budapest is also great to visit in any season. For example, in the winter, there are great festive markets and the steaming hot water of the famous thermal baths. The most popular ones are Rudas, Gellert, and Széchenyi. Because of its popularity, make sure to book ahead to avoid disappointment. 

best travel budapest Thermal Bath

Alternatively, visit in the summer, when the temperatures are high, and you can explore the surrounding vacation areas like Lake Bastion.

Where to Stay in Budapest

Budapest has plenty of options for all budgets when it comes to hotels and hostels (you can search for your hostel here).

The best areas to stay are on the Pest side between Keleti station and the Danube River, where most is happening.

unesco budapest Parliament

16. Amsterdam, Netherlands

There’s something special about Amsterdam, which is why travelers return time and time again! It’s easy to see why, with its cobbled streets, charming canals, trendy cafes, vintage shops, and cycling culture.

amsterdam salt in our hair

Hire a bike and do as the locals do, cycling among the city’s best sights, like Vondel Park and 9 Straatjes (the most traditional and photogenic streets in Amsterdam). Afterward, enjoy the many famous museums in the city—whether it’s the Van Gogh Museum or the contemporary Moco Museum.

best cities to visit in europe amsterdam bike

Got more time? Take a day trip to some of the most beautiful villages in the Netherlands, where you’ll find traditional windmills, cute houses, and canals. If you’re visiting from mid-April to early May, you’ll also have the chance to see the tulip fields. Find the best place to see tulips in the Netherlands (without tourists!). 

Where to Stay in Amsterdam

Amsterdam has a large selection of accommodations throughout the entire city. The Canal Belt is the most expensive area, with a hotel at an average price of 130 EUR per night.

Apartments in Amsterdam (± 80 EUR a night) have been cut down in their number but are still an okay option.

best cities to visit in europe Windmills Amsterdam

17. Edinburgh, Scotland 

Historical Edinburgh is the birthplace of Harry Potter and one of the most magical cities to visit in Europe. The city feels pulled straight out of the pages of a fairytale with its regal buildings, castles, and dark stone. Walk among the hilly streets, listening to the deafening sound of the bagpipes and stopping for a traditional Scottish breakfast!

streets Edinburgh Scotland 

The city has such a vibrant history and is mainly known for its network of underground tunnels, earning it a reputation for ghost stories. We recommend joining a historical tour to learn more about Edinburgh or, if you’re brave enough, a ghost tour for an unusual way to get to know the city. 

Edinburgh Scotland 

Best of all, you’re never far away from the spectacular countryside. Just a short walk from the city center, discover St Arthur’s Seat, a huge hill that you can climb for panoramic views across Edinburgh and the wild and rugged countryside of Scotland. 

Where to Stay in Edinburgh

The best place to stay in the city to be closest to all the main sites is the Old Town, where you’ll find boutique hotels set on the narrow, cobbled streets.

New Town is a slightly more affordable option, with newer hotels. Plus, it’s still within walking distance of the top things to do in Edinburgh!

Edinburgh Scotland best cities euope

18. Valencia, Spain

Valencia: third largest city in Spain and the birthplace of Paella (what’s not to love?). This mesmerizing city is one of Spain’s most underrated cities and should be at the top of your list of the best European cities to visit.

best cities to visit in europe valencia spain

Its location on the coast of Spain means travelers get the perfect mix of city break and beach trips; it offers the excitement of bars, restaurants, museums, and activities but with the relaxation of sunbathing and sea swimming. 

Serrano Towers valencia spain

By day, spend your morning wandering the ancient streets of the historic center, where you’ll find Roman walls, Moorish architecture, and vibrant food markets.

In the afternoon, hire a bike and cycle the 9km length of Turia Park, full of beautiful palm trees, water features, and orange trees. You’ll also find the futuristic City of Arts and Sciences, featured in movies like Tomorrowland and Westworld.

Where to Stay in Valencia

Accommodation in Valencia is reasonably affordable. Aim to stay in the city center, near to the old town or Rusafa, for easy access to the key sights.

For a more affordable option, stay a little outside of the center on the metro line for easy access to the city. Alternatively, find a hostel down by the beach.

valencia spain city arts sciences

19. London, England

Red phone boxes, the King’s Guard, high tea, and Paddington Bear; welcome to London, the capital city of England! London is one of the best cities to visit in Europe, famous worldwide for its remarkable buildings, rows of fancy houses, and, of course, for being home to the royal family. 

london best cities europe

However, there’s so much more to London than just beautiful parks, royal homes, and cups of tea. Dig a little deeper, and you’ll find a gritty, underground scene in districts like Shoreditch, Peckham, or Camden with cutting-edge music, art, bars, and restaurants. Whether it’s drinking on top of a rooftop at Frank’s Cafe, vintage shopping at Camden Market, or dancing around the piano at Piano Works, London will be a trip to remember. 

Where to Stay in London

London is a huge city with plenty of amazing areas to stay in, each one with its own unique character. Stay somewhere like Convent Garden if you want to be close to the shops, Westminster, and Buckingham Palace.

Alternatively, for something a bit more contemporary and creative, choose trendy Shoreditch or Camden. Wherever you choose, the underground trains will help you get from A to B.

best cities europe london

20. Vienna, Austria

Vienna is not only the capital of Austria, but it used to be the capital of the entire Austro-Hungarian empire. Unsurprisingly, it is one of the most regal cities to visit in Europe, and was once the home of Beethoven and Mozart.

vienna best cities europe

Days in Vienna are spent wandering the cobblestone streets bordered by Baroque buildings and stunning architectural gems like Schönbrunn Palace and St. Stephen’s Cathedral. In the evening, treat yourself to a night at the opera or dance the Viennese Waltz at one of the city’s glamorous balls.

Although Vienna has unique glamour, luxury, and history, there’s also an edgy urban scene if you know where to look, from cool concept stores to fun speakeasies.

Best Time to Visit Vienna

The city is an all-year-round destination. In the fall, discover beautiful parks and wine taverns (it’s a huge wine destination and one of the only cities to have vineyards within the city itself!). There are fantastic Christmas markets in the winter, and in the spring/summer, there’s a great outdoor cafe culture.

Where to Stay in Vienna

Innere Stadt is the best area to stay for first-time visitors who want easy access to all the main sites of the city.

If you’re traveling on a budget, you’ll find cheaper hotels in the area of Landstrasse, which is just a 30-minute walk or 10-minute metro away from the historic center.

20/02/2024 https://www.saltinourhair.com/europe/best-cities-visit-europe/
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