So I haven’t been to every city in Europe, but I’ve been to enough to be able to put forth an opinion on my top ten. Let’s just get straight to the point on this one. And yes, yes, I’m aware I left out a few good ones, and in time, this list may change- So feel free to share your favourites!
In no particular order, here are my top ten best cities in Europe! (My personal favourites of course).
NUMBER ONE: Barcelona
Anyone going on a Euro-trip at some point in time really has to go to Barcelona. Spain in general is an awesome country, but Barcelona is extra special. From the vibe of Las Ramblas, to the history of the Gothic quarter there is just so much to explore. Love him or not- Gaudi and his architecture can be found throughout the whole city, with the most iconic piece of all, The Sagrada Familia being the crowning jewel. Although perhaps not everyone’s cup of tea, it is to be marvelled at in all its bizarre glory. Once all the sightseeing is out of the way, everyone has to find their own little spot of paradise and order all the tapas they can handle, and better yet, get a liter of sangria to wash it all down. Lets call that a starting point, and the rest you can make up as you go along.
NUMBER TWO: Warsaw
I have to give a spot to the Motherland (I’m Polish). Recently I went to Warsaw for the first time, and quite honestly my expectations were limited. However, this city is very cool in its own right. With a beautifully rebuilt “old” town square, with a mixed vibe of young and old, there is much to be explored by anyone. The daytime can be filled with stuffing your face with perogies, ponczki and other Polish favourites then the evening can easily be spent barhopping and finding some cool little outdoor hangouts. It may not be an expected favourite city, but between the history, the vibe, and just the beauty of it, everyone should make a stop in Eastern Europe. Oh, and girls, be prepared to drink beer with a straw- it’s a thing here.
NUMBER THREE: Prague
Oh Prague. This city has a great first impression- as well as a last one. From the cobblestone streets to the beautiful medieval architecture; this picturesque city is bound to satisfy every impression you had expected from Europe. Getting lost is probably the most amusing activity, and if that gets redundant- which it never could, perhaps visiting one of the many quirky “museums” or the Lennon wall will fill in the gaps. If that fails, just find a rooftop café and you’re set. I could easily spend all of my time in Prague. It can take weeks just to navigate all the nooks and crannies of awesomeness, but if you can even scrape through the surface, it might just become one of your favourite cities in the world.
NUMBER FOUR: Budapest
There really are very few places in the world like Budapest. Hilltops, Spas, old European charm- what more can one ask for? Sharing the same essence of Prague, the atmosphere alone makes this one of the best cities in Europe. Thermal spas by day or by night; can’t go wrong! Beautiful architecture is around every corner, and matching those corners is the history that goes with them. There is something very dramatic about Budapest; perhaps it’s the grandeur, or maybe its presence. Whatever it is, I like it! Scratch that, I love it! One day I will go back to Budapest and only Budapest- purely to give it the attention it deserves, without having its Eastern European counterparts taking away any of its spotlight. Ps: You must see it by night on the river- nothing compares.
NUMBER FIVE: Amsterdam
Amsterdam: a classic European city that should never be overlooked. This is probably the more obvious choice on my list. Who wouldn’t go to Amsterdam? I mean it has been featured it pretty much any movie relating to a trip through Europe. It is one of the most liberal cities to say the least. Some of the main attractions are the red light district and marijuana bars- and that’s great and all, but there’s just so much more! What about a little history? This city isn’t just for those looking to have a questionable experience. This is home to the Van Gogh museum and the Anne Frank house. There is a true learning experience to be had here. What about just wandering through the streets, or watching performances in Dam Square. Just being present will give you quite the experience. Regardless of all that though, no trip to Amsterdam is complete if you don’t take a picture in the big yellow clog- you’ll regret not taking one.
NUMBER SIX: Stockholm
Stockholm, the land of Ikea! Ok, maybe not, but how can you not help but think it? Regardless, Stockholm is so charming. People are as lovely as they are beautiful- and really, they’re seriously beautiful! Everything is so clean and picturesque. Go to the Saluhall market to pick up some good eats- the meatballs and Lingonberry sauce are delicious! The sites are quaint, but there is just something about it you can’t help but love. Not many people place Stockholm on their list of European destinations to visit. However, if you plan to visit any of the Baltic, this is one of the best cities by far! Oh, and if time permits go to the Ice Bar- it is the original!
NUMBER SEVEN: Rome
Rome may not be everyone’s favourite city, but I think it is all about timing. Really any part of Europe is about timing. The thing about Rome, you really need to see it when it is not busy; it takes on a whole different personality. Perhaps if you catch it on a quiet day, you may learn to love it- otherwise you’re stuck with this whole Colosseum thing in all of your pictures- just yuck! And by yuck I mean, its the COLOSSEUM! Then you have some just ok landmarks like the Spanish Steps, Trevi fountain, Vatican; you know…nothing special. Then after you are dying of boredom looking at those, you just have to stop off for pizza, gelato and a cappuccino just to make the day worse. All of the above was my shot at sarcasm. On another note- Rome is awesome, go there.
NUMBER EIGHT: Hamburg
What an incredibly underrated city. The Pearl of the North as it’s known by some. Everyone visits Berlin or Munich, but no one gives Hamburg a fair chance. It’s really the smaller cities of Europe that epitomize what Europe is all about. It gives you the nightlife of Amsterdam with a daytime charm of Munich- by the water. Stroll the streets, have a sausage, do as the Germans do. You can go to a flea market, sit in some cafes or watch the ships go by at the port- perhaps this is one of my favourites because of my time working on the Queen Mary 2 (cruise ship), and if you’re lucky, and she’s in town, Hamburg throws on one hell of a show in her honour.
NUMBER NINE: London
I suppose I have to put London on the list or I’ll never hear the end of it. It actually is an awesome city. What’s there not to love? You have a palace, Big Ben, Tower Bridge, Piccadilly, Harrods, the London Eye, Harry Potter- need I continue? If that’s not enough, this is the Queens stomping ground. Perhaps after a day of running around, you can stop somewhere for high tea- seriously, what’s there not to love! Then when that’s over go see a show, or do as I do, and stuff your face with some Cornish pasties or sausage rolls, and yes, there is a theme, I eat a lot when I travel.
NUMBER TEN: Madeira
I’m in love with Madeira. What upsets me the most; the fact that most people have never heard of it. Quick geography lesson- it is a Portuguese Island in the North Atlantic fairly close to the Canaries. It is a hidden gem of European cities (islands). With beautiful hillsides, a great town square, steak on a stone, the best Sangria of my life and down hill street sledding (it’s a thing here), it really is just the best. I especially love it at Christmas time; twinkling lights and displays litter the streets, hot wine served on every corner; just the best.