I know this was a very small list of cities in an incredibly diverse continent. It was very hard to make this list because each of these cities are so unique in their own way that it makes it hard to group them all together. I love Europe because it reminds you that you are so small in comparison to what has been created and discovered around you, and its a crazy feeling. Here is my list of the top ten magical destinations in Europe:
1. Prague, Czech Republic
I have to admit that I am pretty biased for voting Prague number one on this list. I lived in Prague studying abroad for 5 months and everyday I had to remind myself that I was not dreaming when I walked across the Charles Bridge to get to school. The city was so serene and the everywhere you looked was like walking into a fairytale. Prague, you will always have my heart.
2. Annecy, France
This hidden little town in France is something straight out of a fairytale dream. We spent the day walking along the clear water and through the small canals of colorful houses and bright flowers. Annecy is a perfect little getaway from the large amount of tourists in Paris, and an example that beauty in France is everywhere you go.
3. Vatican City and Rome, Italy
I include Vatican City with Rome because my favorite place in Europe was St. Peter’s Basilica. I could spend all day in the places in Vatican City, admiring the artwork of the Sistine Chapel and looking up at the ceiling watching the sun reflect through the windows of the Basilica. Stop into all of the churches that you pass in Italy. They each have a unique magnificence to them, and deserve their own, special attention. It makes us laugh when others complain about “just another old church” or that “they’re all the same” because they so are not. Each is stunning in its own way, and if you sit still for a moment in the pews, we hope the love and detailed care that was poured into its creation descends upon you. Rome is also a magical city full of architecture and art that made me stare in awe at every turn. I feared that the Colosseum would be like every other tourist trap but I was ver much proven wrong. It was huge and was an amazing piece of Italy’s ancient history. Florence, Venice, and Milan are definitely next on my bucket list.
4. Istanbul, Turkey
Istanbul was unlike any city I had every experienced before. Between the daily call of prayer in the streets and the detailed mosques like the Blue Mosque, it is impossible not to be fascinated with the Turkish history and culture. You could wander through this city for hours and always find vibrant colors and spectacular views. (Read my full city guide here.)
5. Paris, France
Of course, I have to add Paris to the list of magical destinations in Europe. Home to romance and architectural genius, this city is a top European destination. While the amount of tourists does take away some of its authentic charm, you can help but get swept up in the beauty that is Paris.
6. Geneva, Switzerland
One word: views. My roommate and I sat on the edge of the lake talking and watching the sunset all around us. It was such a tranquil and serene time watching the reflection of the sunset in the water while swans swam in front of us. It’s pure magic to walk through this city and see the waters and mountains painting a beautiful image for you to remember.
7. Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic
Let me just say that Queen Latifah’s character in Last Holiday had it right when she chose Karlovy Vary as her dream destination. This city had a colorful charm and set the tone of a day of relaxation. The town is full of healing spa waters that you can drink from and amazing scenery that you cannot miss.
8. Budapest, Hungary
Whether it’s strolling across the Chain Bridge in the day or watching the buildings light up in golden colors along the Danube at night, Budapest is something very magical. This eastern European city has a lot of old-time charm and a incredible haunting history. The bathhouses are also incredible for relaxation in this city.
(Read my full city guide here.)
9. Amsterdam, the Netherlands
My favorite activity to do is Amsterdam was to just walk along the canals and through the city. Everywhere you turn there is a magical sight to see.
I include London because of its positive and upbeat atmosphere that adds the magic to the city. Although it is very crowded at many points in the city, the city brings new light to its visitors through the amazing sights of Westminster Abbey, the Tower Bridge, and of course, Big Ben.
My next list for Europe includes Croatia, Scotland, Portugal, and more of Italy. If you have other cities I should have added to the list comment them below so I can drool in envy.
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