For helping you plan your next tour to Europe, U.S. News rounded up a list of active cities known for their museums, shops, restaurants, nightlife, recreation and architecture. After careful consideration of these factors and opinions between travelers and experts, we found many popular spots out of which we are going to rank the top 10 best places to visit in Europe. Use this list to guide your travel options, and cast your vote to help us compile next year’s list.
Top 10 Best Places to Visit in Europe 2016 Ranking
History is at the heart of Vienna among literally and figuratively. The narrow streets of the Innere Stadt meander around antiquated buildings giving an atmosphere so authentic that you almost expect a Vienna-native like composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart or psychologist Sigmund Freud to around a cobblestone corner and greet you with “Guten Tag.” Lavish baroque palaces from the Habsburg Monarchy loom over the city, just as Mozart’s classical arias pour from contemporary cafés. If it’s culture you seek, you’ll discover it here.
Venice is fascinating. Yes, that may be cliché to say, but once you see the city on the water for yourself, you’ll agree. Step off of the Santa Lucia train station and the breathtaking Great Canal will soon stop you. You’ll see water taxis coast along, passing here the Ponte Degli Scalzi and might hear the faintest hint of a serenading violin, or is that your imagination? Its strength was not all in your head. Romantic gondolas carrying smitten couples glide through the web of the city’s various waterways, and gondola drivers are known to sing when the moment feels right. On land, small passageways twist past Old World storefronts and residences, and over bridges. You must note that maps aren’t all that helpful here and getting lost the norm embrace the disorientation.
England gets pleasure in London, the U.S. loves New York, France is slightly narcissistic about Paris, and once again, Germany proudly claims Berlin. More than two decades later the fall of the Berlin Wall, the city is basking in a cultural renaissance that is marking everything from museums to fashion, food and nightclubs. That’s not to say that this city has forgotten its dark past; in fact, powerful performances like the Murdered Jews Memorial, the Topography of Terror and the Checkpoint Charlie Museum are proof of its steadfast reverence. And yet, Berlin is on the upswing. An afternoon people-Seeing at a lively café or an all-night dance fest at a hip club will give you the proof.
A prosperous and bustling city, Prague now attracts more visitors than ever. But its picturesque downtown veils both a dark legacy and a resilient past; in its 1,100 years, Prague has withstood many overthrows, invasions, fires and floods. It’s this character for survival and perseverance that has made the Czech capital so fascinating. Today, its famous churches, narrow streets, daunting hilltop castle and statue-lined bridges get the scene of an urban fairy tale. Even the most jaded traveler would have trouble resisting this city’s charms.
Don’t believe all you hear about Amsterdam. Yes, this Amsterdam city takes a lax look at ladies beckoning business in the Red Light District and “coffee shops” selling an unorthodox kind of herb to a taking clientele, but these descriptions only scratch the surface. At some point, during an excellent Indonesian meal, a twilight canal-side rambling or a shopping excursion by the boutiques of Nine Streets, you’ll realize as many travelers have before you that there’s much more to Amsterdam than you might’ve thought.
Barcelona holds the authentically historical and the wildly bizarre. From the tree-lined Las Ramblas to the narrow alleys of Barri Gòtic; from the beachside nightclubs to the city’s dozens of sacred churches and cathedrals, this city by the sea appears to attract all types: the family, the adventurer, the couple, the backpacker, the culture lover and more with an almost overwhelming quality of things to do. You could stay for some days, but chances are you’ll need a whole week to explore.
This little city, tucked amid the Tuscan hills, casts a long shadow over history. The wellspring of the Renaissance, Firenze sheltered the powerful Medici family and inspired artists like Michelangelo and Brunelleschi. If it weren’t for the fashionable Italians and chic shops lining Via Tornabuoni, you might think you had gone back in time to the 14th century. But Revival art is not the only reason to come: You also visit Florence for its beautiful sunsets, it’s Italian cooking and its unbeatable romantic charm.
The English writer Samuel Johnson famously said, “You discover no man, at all intelligent, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.” More than two times have passed since Johnson’s era, but his words still ring true. Life in London is invigorating, and travelers discover that one visit isn’t enough to experience everything this two-millennia-old city has to offer.
The City of Lights Paris brings millions of visitors every year with its unforgettable ambiance. Of course, the divine cuisine and vast art collections deserve few of the credit as well. The gentle Stream Seine rambles through the city, quartered by stately museums, centuries-old churches, and blocks of Rococo and Neoclassic-design building, further enhanced by charming trees and glowing streetlamps. Peppering the Seine’s cobbled walks and graceful bridges are impossibly chic Parisians, probably on their.
Rome, the city of seven hills, enjoyed a mythic beginning. Romulus and Remus twin brothers who were nursed by a she-wolf and fathered by a war God reportedly founded the Eternal City. And although historians are a little skeptical about this epic entry into the world, most tourists are certain that there is something magical about Rome. Whether it’s the mystery of nearby Vatican City or the ghosts of the Colosseum, an afternoon.
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