If you’re looking for the best european cities to visit, you’re in the right place. As Italian blogger I traveled much through Europe and I made a leaderboard about the best cities (not only capitals) you should visit. Are many the beautiful European cities that are worth visiting. Cities that leave visitors pleasantly impressed, cities that fascinate and captivate anyone who visits them.
With this post I would like to give you some suggestions on some European cities to visit. You don’t need to spend several weeks, you just need 2 or 3 days or just a weekend to discover them.
The best European cities to visit
Let me point out that I won’t list them in order of beauty, also in this short list there are no Italian cities since, from a patriotic point of view, a whole post would not be enough to recommend them all.
The European cities that I would like to recommend you to visit are: Nice, Seville, Bruges, Porto and Rouen.
Nice in France, the first European city I suggest you
The lovely city of Nice in France is a city that I had the pleasure to discover last year during a weekend trip with friends on the Côte d’Azur. From the beginning I thought it was a peculiar city, still shaken by the terrible terrorist incident that happened a few months before. Although wounded, I saw a vibrant and colorful city especially in its old neighborhood. Nice is absolutely a city to travel in Europe on foot through an itinerary. It starts from its main square “Place Massena“, continues through the “Promenade du Pallion” and reaches the entrance to the old town.
In the old district you will find the real city of Nice. The one still bound to the shops scattered in narrow and characteristic alleys. The one where you can discover the local flavors tasting the Socca or the Pissaladiere. Finally, you can immerse yourself in the popular context of the lively market in Cours Saleya. Not far from the market you can stroll along the splendid Promenade Des Anglais and finally climb up to the Castle of Nice, a magnificent vantage point directly overlooking the sea and from which you can admire Nice and part of the coast towards Cannes.
In short, Nice has struck me and I would gladly visit it again to discover it even better, maybe on a spring weekend or, even better, during the folkloristic carnival in Nice.
If you’d like to take a look at the complete itinerary on Nice with lots of tips to visit it I suggest you to check this article -> Nice, France: the best things to do and see!
Seville in Spain, an Andalusian beauty
Seville is definitely my first love, it’s one of my favorite European cities. I found it about ten years ago during a Southern Spain itinerary in Andalusia. You know, you can’t forget your first love.
Seville is a city on a human scale. You can breathe peace of mind in the air. Life flows slower, yet everything (or almost everything) is efficient. The Spanish people are friendly, cheerful and welcoming. Spain, on the other hand, is almost like our second home and therefore, us Italians feel at ease.
However, in Seville this feeling of ease is felt even more.
Among the best European cities that I am mentioning is the one that you should definitely avoid visiting in August. The heat is prohibitive and in the afternoon it’s difficult to travel under the scorching sun.
Seville is, therefore, the perfect cties to visit throughout the rest of the year.
Visiting the city of Seville takes at least 2 – 3 days, a full weekend. It is a city that has much to offer, from a simple cultural tour to wine and food discoveries to beautiful flamenco shows. The best ways to visit it are on foot or by bicycle.
To learn all about the city of Seville
- Top things to do and see in Seville in 2 days, Spain
- Seville: 10 facts and tips to know
Bruges, the romantic European Belgian city
So let’ s move on from the Andalusian gem to the Belgian one, and I am not kidding.
Bruges is a real gem, otherwise I would not have included it among the 5 best European cities to visit. Unlike Seville, I wouldn’t live there simply because I wouldn’t like the weather. If it weren’t for that, I’d consider it a little bit more.
Bruges is elegant, romantic and warm. Yes, warm, but not in the sense of warmth. I mean that being a medieval city in some places it feels like going back in time. The colour of the stones, the architecture of the houses and the city itself, transmit feelings of familiarity, of being home.
Do you know that classic atmosphere “fireplace, crackling wood, armchair and book to read”? Well, that’s more or less it.
Even a visit to the city of Bruges takes two days. Many people visit it only in one day from Brussels. However Bruges deserves much more than a short trip and escape. The “Venice of the North” should be experienced on foot, discovering the most distinctive corners and, why not, lingering to sip beer while watching its canals.
A little tip: spend a few minutes sitting in Piazza Markt and enjoy a waffle full of chocolate and cream.
If you would like to better discover Bruges
Porto, the home of fado and Porto wine
The title perfectly represents the feelings that pervade the traveler who visits Oporto, or Porto (they are the same city).
Porto is by far one of the best European cities to be visited, it is the second largest city in Portugal and is located in the northern part of the Portuguese nation. Most of its reputation comes from the homonymous wine known all over the world.
Until a few years ago it was not a very well known destination. Over time, thanks also to the increase of low cost flights, it has become a popular destination all year round. From spring to late autumn you can visit this city and enjoy the sunset from its beautiful bridge: the Dom Luis I bridge, one of the landmarks of the city.
It may seem that Porto doesn’t have much to offer, but you’ll see that you’ll be able to spend the whole weekend and come back home pleasantly impressed.
I have always described the city of Porto as romantic and decadent at the same time. The reason is soon said. Walking through the streets of the city will seem almost neglected, instead it is just one of its characteristics that gives it an incredible charm.
Palacio da Bolsa, the Lello e Irmão library, the Church of Sant’Ildefonso, the Majestic Café are just some of the places you can visit in Porto.
Furthermore, Porto is a city to be experienced. Get on the old tram 1 and spend a few hours admiring the lighthouse and the Atlantic Ocean. Back in Porto and spend a few hours in the Ribeira listening to the street musicians while drinking Porto wine, overlooking the Duoro and the beautiful Dom Luis bridge.
Lastly, I would recommend a visit to a winery in Villa Nova de Gaia, on the other side of the river Duoro. An interesting guided tour to discover the production of this wine and, why not, a wine tasting while listening to a performance of Fado, a typical Portuguese chant.
Some tips to visit this European city
- 10 things to do in Porto
- Ride on the old Oporto tram 1 to the lighthouse on the ocean
Rouen, a charming gem in Normandy
Rouen’s past has been quite troubled to say the least. The incidents of the Second World War (click to know more) have hurt it badly but in a short time this eupean city of a hundred bell towers stood up and now it is a great stop on an itinerary in Normandia or a day trip from Paris.
I included Rouen in the list of the 5 European cities to be visited because I liked it very much. One of its main features is that it can be explored on foot in a few hours.
It is a fascinating city whose notorious Notre Dame Cathedral leaves everyone speechless. Not only that. The church of Sainte Maclau and the streets with wooden half-timbered houses like Rue Martanville are also stunning.
The Seine offers Rouen a splendid long river where it is a pleasure to walk and admire the giant boats ready to set sail.
Tip: plan your visit to Rouen during the Armada which is held every 5 years, it is a parade of the most beautiful sailboats in the world.