Beauty is in the eye of the traveler. That’s why our choices for the most beautiful cities in Europe include something for everyone. A Scandinavian escape, hidden Balkan gem, busy-but-beautiful capital, and ancient Greek wonderland all have a place on this list.
While Europe is also full of some of the oldest, most adorable small towns, for the sake of this article we’ll focus on “true” city destinations (50,000+ residents). Whether you’re traveling for your birthday, a bachelorette party, or simply for fun, you can’t go wrong with these gorgeous destinations.
The most beautiful European cities include:
- Thessaloniki, Greece
- Trondheim, Norway
- Ljubljana, Slovenia
- Amsterdam, Netherlands
Use Troupe’s group travel planning app to let your travel buddies vote on which of the most beautiful cities in Europe you want to visit first!
The most beautiful European cities
Thessaloniki, located on the Aegean Sea, is the second biggest city in Greece. It’s the seamless interlacing of old and new that makes this city so beautiful. The city was founded in 315 BC. Here, you’ll find remnants of the city’s past endlessly intertwined with modern life.
The bohemian neighborhood of Ano Poli is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the oldest areas of the city. Cobblestone streets and traditional Greek and Roman architecture are the vibe in this neighborhood. The old town walls here are thousands of years old. Today, you’ll often find young locals enjoying a drink while watching the sunset from atop the wall. Near the water, you’ll find the beautiful White Tower, a former 15th-century prison that’s now one of the most recognizable landmarks of this beautiful European city.
Best nature escape outside the city: The Halkidiki Peninsula’s beautiful beaches.
Norway has plenty of jaw-dropping sites to see, but when it comes to beautiful cities, Trondheim takes the cake. 18th century wooden wharfs line the waterfronts. Pedestrian bridges take you over the river to explore all the boutiques, cafes, and trendy bars of the Bakklandet neighborhood. The colorful houses and narrow streets make this area a photographer’s dream.
To make it even more magical, Trondheim is located incredibly far north. This means, depending whether you visit in winter or summer, you’ll be able to experience either the midnight sun or catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights.
Best nature escape outside the city: Theisendammen, a local-favorite fresh water dam and swimming area.
The quaint country of Slovenia is nestled between Italy, Hungary, Austria, and Croatia and it often gets unfairly overlooked in favor of its more famous neighbors. Yet, Slovenia has the same beautiful nature as the rest and it also has one of the most beautiful cities in Europe for a capital.
Ljubljana is a colorful, laidback place centered around the emerald green river running through its center. Its entire territory is over 75% green areas and, in 2016, Ljubljana won Europe’s Most Sustainable City award in part due to its pedestrian-friendly downtown and lengthy cycling routes. It’s also one of the most under-the-radar European cities for gastronomy with plenty of restaurants holding honors for different Michelin awards.
Best nature escape outside the city: Bright blue Lake Bled with its church-topped island.
Amsterdam’s narrow, centuries-old houses along its many canals are undeniably gorgeous. The colorful facades, brick churches, and flower-lined bridges make this one of the most beautiful cities in Europe to aimlessly explore. Whether you’re on bike or foot, you’ll continually happen upon gorgeous views in Amsterdam. Want to really experience the most stunning parts of this city? Pay a visit to the Rijksmuseum, the floating flower markets, or take a boat trip through the canals.
Best nature escape outside the city: Pay a visit to Keukenhof in late April/Early May to experience the tulip season at its best.
Ready to plan your European adventures to these beautiful destinations? Discover how Troupe’s group trip planner makes it easy to plan group travel.
Looking to plan more adventures as well? Check out our favorite Thanksgiving destinations, girls’ trip ideas, Christmas vacation ideas, and where to travel in 2022. While you’re in Europe, head to Ireland’s capital and discover the best things to do in Dublin.