With so many fantastic European cities to explore, it can be hard to narrow down where to go. And truly, you could just throw a dart on a map of Europe and begin exploring and find magic wherever you go. But if you want some direction, Ava Roxanne Stritt of Spa Travel Gal has compiled a list of the best European cities, as selected by our well-traveled Gnational Gnomads. Which European city piques your wanderlust?
Make this the year you head out on that European vacation you’ve been dreaming about! To get you started, check out these incredible European cities (listed in no particular order). In other words, we love them all!
6 European Cities to Explore This Year
Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, is Gnomad Kirsten Maxwell’s favorite destination. She says Lisbon is one place not to miss on a visit to Europe.
“Not only is it relatively inexpensive compared to its neighbors, the people are welcoming, the architecture is beautiful and the food is delicious. The city has beaches, a castle, shopping and copious amounts of sunshine. Those looking for the perfect city getaway will love everything about this gem on the Iberian Peninsula,” Maxwell says.
Prague, Czech Republic
Gnomad Mike Shubic is all about Prague. He says the Czech Republic is one of his favorite countries in all of Europe and the crown jewel of Prague should be on everyone’s bucket list.
“This UNESCO World Heritage city consists of large-scale palaces and ecclesiastical buildings of various architectural styles. See everything from Romanesque buildings that date to the 10th century through Gothic modifications into the 14th. It really is an extraordinary city to explore,” he says.
Beyond the history and architecture, he adds, “Prague also has world-class lodging, museums, theaters and international fine-dining restaurants. What makes the Czech Republic even more appealing, is that compared to North America and Western Europe, it’s still quite affordable.”
Florence is Gnomad Eric Stoen’s favorite city, not just in Europe but in the entire world. He says Florence draws him back multiple times every year. Typically solo.
“I love walking around the city at sunrise to experience the art, history and architecture without anyone else around. The restaurants are always amazing, and the climb up to Piazzale Michelangelo for sunset never disappoints,” he says. Also, he recommends exploring Boboli Gardens and the Stibbert Museum.
“And even though you’ll see the Ponte Vecchio during the day, head back again after dinner. One of my favorite things to do is to sit on the ancient stone steps and enjoy the live music with the Arno below reflecting the lights of the city,” he says.
Per the name, Bath is known for its Roman-era baths and natural hot springs, set in 18th-century architecture. Bath is the perfect fusion of a healthy, relaxing, educational and historical vacation. Bath is a UNESCO World Heritage site and like nowhere else in Europe; in fact, it’s the only place in the United Kingdom where you can experience natural hot springs. A few highlights for travelers include the 2,000-year-old baths, the rooftop pool at the Thermae Bath Spa, the restaurant in the vaults of Theatre Royal, the Fashion Museum, the Jane Austen Centre and the Pump Room fountain.
Per fellow Gnomads Mike and Anne Howard, “Few cities in Europe balance ancient history and modern times with such grace and style as Bath. While famous for its beautifully preserved 2,000 year-old Roman baths, that’s not the only reason it’s a UNESCO World Heritage City (the only one in the UK). It boasts England’s most complete Georgian architecture, so any given street is a work of art. Jane Austen used Bath as her writer’s den and her prose plays out through the city. We also love that Bath isn’t too precious and wants you to enjoy its historic treasures. Stay at the Georgian masterpiece of the Royal Crescent Hotel, soak in ancient waters at the Thermae Bath Spa, listen to the choir at the Bath Abbey (a place of worship for over 1,000 years), and wander the city’s cobblestone streets … there is something to discover at every turn.”
Bath is the ultimate spa vacation, one with a reputation that has withstood thousands of years. As a popular spa destination, Bath is also a favorite for me. I share my memories of Bath, England on Spa Travel Gal here.
Sometimes the most exciting cities are also the best known. While London is not off the beaten path, it is one of Gnomad Sher’s favorite destinations.
Why does she love it? “London is both contemporary and historic,” she says. “You can get in some great shopping and excellent dining, as well as visit some of the world’s most iconic sites, like the Big Ben clock tower, the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey. Stroll along the Thames River for some great photo opps. A modern way to explore London is in a fun Harry Potter tour of the Warner Bros. studio.”
Sher also enjoys Paris and various cities in Ireland. She recommends visiting Bantry House in County Cork; Killarney National Park in County Killarney; the Temple Bar District in Dublin; and Kylemore Abbey in Connemara, County Galway. No, she couldn’t narrow it down. And how could she? The beauty is transcendent.
Gnomad Joe Miragliotta is all about Wertheim, Germany. He says you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a real-life fairytale when you visit Wertheim am Main, located in southwestern Germany in the region called Baden-Wuerttemberg.
“Other than the charming architecture and medieval streets dating way, way back, the star of Wertheim is the castle, built in the 15th century,” Joe explains. “It’s been changed and damaged over the years, but it remains one of the most picturesque German attractions. Thus, everyone needs to see soon before it gets any additional damage. The natural environment of Wertheim is appealing, too. It’s where two rivers meet: the Tauber and Main. Also, if you want to walk through an authentic medieval village this is a must-do city. One can see an impressive castle and enjoy yummy German food at the same time.” Thus, Wertheim is a must-see in Germany.
Convinced? Ready to take your make your escape to one of these European cities? Here are some additional travel tips to get you on your way to one these top 6 cities in Europe to explore in 2018!
Ava Roxanne Stritt of Spa Travel Gal is an official Travelocity Gnomad. Gnational Gnomads is an exclusive group of high-profile travel and lifestyle experts who offer tips and inspiration on behalf of Travelocity.
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