Let’s start off by saying that distilling Europe down to just five cities is really hard. There are hundreds of cities across this diverse continent that deserve your attention.
But, to cover every single incredible European city you would need to write an entire book. So, we will settle with five, carefully selected cities that you would be crazy to miss if you’re planning on traveling through Europe.
Each of these five cities epitomizes a part of what makes Europe so wonderful, whether that be food, nature, architecture or otherwise.
1. Rome, Italy
Rome is everything we love about Italy all rolled into one brilliantly chaotic city. With the Colosseum and Pantheon representing the former glory days of the Roman Empire and the Piazza di Spagna shopping district showing off the city’s modern side, Rome is the perfect blend of old and new. Yet, there is more to Rome than just its monuments.
The city also boasts a fabulous culinary scene, which whole-heartedly embraces the Italian tradition of copious amounts of pizza or pasta followed by a scoop or two of mouth-watering gelato.
2. London, UK
If your favorite artist is going on tour or there’s an exhibition you’d like to see, you can guarantee that at some point they will end up in London. The city’s constant buzz alone is enough to captivate you. Yet, the thing that people love about London is its diversity.
Rather than one big city, London is more like a collection of little cities. From the hipster joints in Shoreditch to the snazzy boutiques of Mayfair to the glittering lights of the West End, every part of London caters to a different crowd and finding your scene is all part of the fun.
3. Bruges, Belgium
I don’t know how popular Bruges was as a destination before the iconic film In Bruges, but nowadays it is a European weekend trip staple. This fairytale city is beautiful beyond description, crisscrossed with shimmering canals that are lined with colorful houses. If you’re looking for some highly like-able Instagram shots, you will find them here.
What’s more, Belgium is one of the European hotspots for chocolate. Grab yourself a waffle drizzled with Belgian chocolate to eat while you stroll through the cobbled streets of Bruges. If that isn’t perfection I don’t know what is.
4. Ljubljana, Slovenia
Ljubljana has completely transformed itself over the past decade. It has gone from an unknown capital somewhere near Italy to a European summer holiday favorite. The city itself is gorgeous and steeped with that classic old school Eastern European charm.
But, what’s even better is the fact that within an hour you can be out of the city and admiring the stunning natural beauty of Lake Bled and its surrounding forests. After lapping up some of Mother Nature’s finest offerings, head back to the city for a beer and boogie in one of Ljubljana’s quirky nightclubs.
5. Reykjavik, Iceland
Interestingly, Reykjavik doesn’t really feel like Europe. Iceland is like its own little world where people soak themselves in steaming lagoons and eat reindeer for dinner. Reykjavik is striking for multiple reasons. For starters, its streets are lined with adorable houses with colorful roofs. Secondly, the backdrop to the city is a bunch of snow-capped mountains. Thirdly, if you drive along the ring road you will see glaciers, hot springs, black sand beaches and more.
And, if you’re really lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of the famous Northern Lights.