Europe may be the second-smallest continent, but it is home to some of the most famous and beautiful cities in the world. London, a workaday, endlessly surprising mess, is also a global town that has grown up thanks to other nations. Somewhat to it’s own surprise, London is still one of the world’s greatest cities. From struggling provincial backwater to the city that never sleeps, Dublin has been riding one hell of a roller coaster in recent years. Every day planeloads of visitors head to Temple Bar ready to party.
Paris is not a city for the faint-hearted. It engulfs the senses with its vibrant culture, architectural marvels, world-class galleries, stylish shopping, trendy wine bars and fantastic food. Barcelona dips its toes in the Mediterranean, lolls back against the Pyrenees and basks in year-round sunshine: it’s not surprising that Barcelona is the most visited city in Europe. With Brussels, it’s rarely a case of love at first sight, but this is a city that soon gets under your skin. The EU presence lends the city an upbeat, cosmopolitan atmosphere. The capital of Germany since 1999, Berlin is a city reborn – a phoenix risen from the flames of Second World War destruction and Cold War division, it is now arguably the hippest European capital. Visitors get rather poetic when they first clap eyes on Prague. The ‘Golden City’, the ‘Belle of Bohemia’ and the ‘City of a Thousand Spires’ certainly has a lot to live up to, but the reality matches the hype. Peerlessly photogenic, Venice can seem like a beautiful relic – a vulnerable novelty without much of a contemporary purpose. Venice however, is a gorgeously unlikely city, built on shifting sands, filled with great art and a wonderfully peaceful absence of road traffic.