Top 5s

Top 5 – Best Cities in Europe

So much countries and cultures in one continent!

Europe. So much different cultures, countries, and cities in one place. It makes it special for a reason. Having a diverse array of cultures in Europe enriches the continent by bringing a wealth of unique traditions, languages, art, music, food, and history all together. The diversity allows for cultural exchange, resulting in a more vibrant and dynamic society. Additionally, this diversity displays the continent’s long and complex history. Along my travels and the reason why I wanted to start this post, is because I have visited so much cities throughout my continent. There is so much to see and to do. Here, by making hard decisions, I have listed to be what I think are the best cities in Europe to visit for a traveler like you. From Madrid all the way in the west, to Istanbul in almost Asia. Read here about my Top 5 – Best Cities in Europe!

#1 Budapest, Hungary

Budapest is the capital and largest city of Hungary. It is located in the north-central part of the country, along the Danube River. It is a cultural, political, and commercial hub of Hungary and Eastern Europe, with a rich history spanning over a thousand years. The city is known for its thermal baths, including the famous Gellért and Rudas Baths, as well as its stunning architecture, including the Fisherman’s Bastion and Buda Castle. It is also famous for its vibrant nightlife and culinary scene, with traditional Hungarian dishes such as goulash and chimney cake.

Fisher's Bastion, Budapest
When in Budapest, I propose you visit:
  1. Buda Castle and Castle Hill: Explore the historical Buda Castle complex, which includes the Royal Palace, Matthias Church, and Fisherman’s Bastion. The area offers panoramic views of the city and is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
  2. Hungarian Parliament Building: Admire the stunning architecture of the Hungarian Parliament Building, situated along the Danube River. You can take guided tours to explore its interior, including the magnificent Great Hall.
  3. Széchenyi Chain Bridge: Walk or drive across the iconic Széchenyi Chain Bridge, one of Budapest’s most famous landmarks. It connects Buda and Pest, offering beautiful views of the Danube River and the cityscape.
  4. St. Stephen’s Basilica: Visit the largest church in Budapest, St. Stephen’s Basilica. Climb to the top for a panoramic view of the city or admire the impressive interior and the famous Holy Right Hand relic.
  5. Heroes’ Square and City Park: Explore Heroes’ Square, featuring statues of Hungarian historical figures and the Millennium Monument. Adjacent to the square is City Park, which houses Vajdahunyad Castle, the Széchenyi Thermal Bath, and the Budapest Zoo.
  6. Hungarian State Opera House: Marvel at the opulence of the Hungarian State Opera House, known for its stunning neo-Renaissance architecture. Consider catching a performance or taking a guided tour to admire its interiors.
  7. Gellért Baths: Relax and rejuvenate at one of Budapest’s famous thermal baths. Gellért Baths, located in the Gellért Hotel, is renowned for its beautiful Art Nouveau design and therapeutic thermal waters
  8. Ruin Bars: Experience Budapest’s unique nightlife scene by visiting the famous ruin bars, such as Szimpla Kert and Instant. These bars are located in dilapidated buildings and courtyards, offering an eclectic and vibrant atmosphere.

#2 Madrid, Spain

Madrid is the capital and largest city of Spain. It is located in the center of the country and is known for its rich history, cultural heritage, and famous landmarks, such as the Royal Palace of Madrid, the Prado Museum, and the Retiro Park. Madrid is also famous for its vibrant nightlife, with many bars, clubs, and restaurants. It is a bustling metropolis with a population of over 3 million people and a major hub for business, finance, and tourism in Spain. In addition, as is the whole of Spain, it is quite affordable! Visit is capital!

When in Madrid, I propose you visit:
  1. Royal Palace of Madrid: A grand palace that was once the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family.
  2. Prado Museum: One of the largest and most important art museums in the world, with a vast collection of European art from the 12th to the 19th centuries.
  3. Retiro Park: A large park in the heart of Madrid, featuring gardens, a lake, and many monuments and sculptures.
  4. Plaza Mayor: A historic central square in Madrid, surrounded by traditional buildings and popular for dining and shopping.
  5. Templo de Debod: An ancient Egyptian temple located in a park near the Royal Palace.
  6. Mercado San Miguel: A popular indoor market selling a variety of Spanish food, drinks, and souvenirs.
  7. Santiago Bernabéu Stadium: The home stadium of Real Madrid Football Club, one of the most successful clubs in the history of the sport.

Want to read more about Madrid?

Check out the awesome full travel guide with more detailed information!

#3 Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey and a transcontinental city, straddling Europe and Asia across the Bosphorus Strait. It has a rich history as the former capital of the Ottoman Empire and has been a cultural center for over 2,000 years. The city is renowned for its architectural heritage, including the Hagia Sophia, Topkapı Palace, and the Blue Mosque, as well as its vibrant cultural scene, delicious cuisine, and bustling markets. Today, Istanbul is a major economic and cultural hub, with a thriving arts community, museums, and a vibrant nightlife.

When in Istanbul, I propose you visit:
  1. Hagia Sophia: A former cathedral and mosque that has been converted into a museum, showcasing stunning Byzantine architecture.
  2. Topkapı Palace: A former imperial palace of the Ottoman sultans, displaying beautiful Ottoman architecture and housing many historical artifacts.
  3. Blue Mosque: A stunning mosque renowned for its intricate tilework and six minarets.
  4. Grand Bazaar: A sprawling market with over 60 streets and 4,000 shops, selling everything from spices to textiles.
  5. Galata Tower: A medieval stone tower offering panoramic views of Istanbul and the Bosphorus.
  6. Basilica Cistern: An ancient underground cistern from the Byzantine era, featuring 336 columns and atmospheric lighting.
  7. Sultanahmet Park: A peaceful park that is home to several monuments, including the German Fountain and the Obelisk of Theodosius.

#4 London, England

London is the capital and largest city of England and the United Kingdom. It is a major global city, with a population of over 8 million people, making it one of the largest cities in Europe. London has a rich history and is a major center for the arts, education, finance, commerce, and transportation. The city has a diverse economy, with many industries ranging from tourism to financial services to technology. This, combined with its rich history and cultural heritage, has helped make London a leading global city. London just has such much to offer. Hence, I can only recommend you just to go, and you will run not run out of options. 

When in London, I propose you visit:
  1. Buckingham Palace: the official residence of the British monarchy.
  2. Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament: the iconic clock tower and home of the UK’s government.
  3. The Tower of London: a historic castle and former royal palace that now houses the Crown Jewels.
  4. London Eye: a giant Ferris wheel with stunning views of the city.
  5. British Museum: one of the largest and most comprehensive museums in the world, with a vast collection of artifacts from around the globe.
  6. Tate Modern: a modern and contemporary art gallery.
  7. Tower Bridge: a iconic Victorian bridge over the River Thames.
  8. Hyde Park: a large park in central London with many recreational opportunities and scenic spots.
For the Harry Potter Fans

The Harry Potter Studio Tour London is a popular tourist attraction for fans of the Harry Potter film series. It is located in Leavesden, just outside of London, and provides a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the films. Visitors can explore the sets, costumes, and special effects used in the films, and see many of the famous props and artifacts up close. Some of the highlights of the studio tour include the Great Hall, Dumbledore’s office, Hagrid’s hut, the Gryffindor common room, and Diagon Alley. Visitors can also see the green screens, animatronics, and other special effects used in the films. In addition to the sets and props, the studio tour also includes interactive exhibits, special effects demonstrations, and a gift shop. The tour is a must-visit for Harry Potter fans, as it offers a unique opportunity to experience the magic of the films up close. Check this out!

#5 Granada, Spain

Granada is a city located in southern Spain and is known for its rich history and culture. It was once the center of the Moorish Kingdom of Granada, and many historic monuments from this era still remain, including the famous Alhambra palace and fortress complex, which is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Spain. Granada is also home to many beautiful gardens and parks, including the Generalife Gardens. The city has a vibrant university culture and is a popular destination for students, making it a lively place with a lively atmosphere and a rich nightlife.

The Alhambra. Stunning for your eyes

The Alhambra is a palace and fortress complex located in Granada, Spain. It was built by the Moors in the 13th and 14th centuries and is considered one of the finest examples of Islamic architecture in the world. The Alhambra is made up of several parts, including the Palace of Charles V, the Nasrid Palaces, the Generalife Gardens, and the Alcazaba fortress. The Nasrid Palaces, with their ornate decoration, intricate tile work, and beautiful courtyards, are particularly famous and are considered one of the most important parts of the Alhambra. The Alhambra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and attracts millions of visitors each year. It is known for its stunning architecture, historical significance, and its beautiful location, perched on a hill overlooking the city of Granada.

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