7 minutes reading time Europe
There are so many amazing cities in Europe to visit, whether you want to go back to old favorites or find new ones to love. These are the best cities in Europe to visit in 2022, according to our picks.
With short flight or train times and easy travel, mini-breaks and longer vacations in Europe’s great cities are a great choice, especially if you want to immerse yourself in culture and history. There are also a lot of places to choose from if you want a trip that is all about food or if you like walking tours that are full of history.
Visit Reykjavik, which is the capital of Iceland and got its name from the steaming hot springs there. Or, you could go to the edge of the continent and visit Istanbul, which has beautiful Ottoman architecture, great food, and boat rides down the Bosphorus.
Paris is always a good idea and Rome never gets old, as the saying goes, but there’s so much more to Europe than these grand dame cities. If you liked Lisbon, you’ll love Porto, with its port warehouses along the water, medieval alleys, and winding Douro.
Read on to find out which European cities we think are the best to visit in 2022:
1. Florence, Italy
Florence is the most ideal of Italy’s major cities, small enough to explore on foot and brimming with culture, art, and history. Brunelleschi’s marble masterpiece dominates the city, so you may stop to admire it on a frequent basis. The Uffizi houses some of the world’s most important works of art, including Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus. Alternatively, walk over the Ponte Vecchio and visit the jewelry ateliers that line the bridge.
Where you should stay in Florence
There are plenty of great palazzos in the city, but to live like a Medici member, stay at Il Salviatino, which is a little outside of the center and has frescoed ceilings.
2. Seville, Spain
Seville, the capital of Andalusia, is a vibrant city with much more to offer than oranges. Traditional festivals are still held, there are fantastic tapas restaurants in the old town, several plazas and parks, and the streets are accompanied by the strums of Spanish guitars. The Giralda tower, the cathedral, and the Royal Alcázar castle are among the city’s many attractions, which feature Moorish and Gothic architecture.
Where you should stay in Seville
The palm-lined Hotel Alfonso XIII, commissioned by a king in 1929 and still hosting royalty, is an equally regal hideaway (including the Hollywood kind).
3. Istanbul, Türkiye
Travel to the furthest edge of Europe with a journey to Istanbul to see where Europe meets Asia. Istanbul’s architecture may be breathtaking, such as the Byzantine church of Aya Sofya, with its gold mosaics, columns, and famous dome (and assorted smaller domes). The Topkapi Palace in the Old City, which was originally the residence of Ottoman sultans, is equally stunning. Then there’s the Grand Bazaar, one of the world’s oldest and largest covered markets. And we haven’t even gotten to the contemporary side of town, with its vibrant nightlife and delectable cuisine.
Where you should stay in Istanbul
Book a room at Six Senses Kocatas Homes, which spans two waterfront mansions that were formerly home to an Ottoman Empire minister.
4. San Sebastian, Spain
Foodies should go to San Sebastian, which has a constellation of Michelin stars and three restaurants that each have three stars. This makes San Sebastian the gastronomy capital of Europe. And if you prefer something less formal than fine dining, you will enjoy the fun pintxos crawls that are a normal part of life in San Sebastian. These are stops at different bars where you can get a tasty snack. The bay in the Basque Country is so pretty that it could be mistaken for a small version of Rio de Janeiro.
Where you should stay in San Sebastian
The Hotel Maria Cristina has been a favorite of both aristocrats and gourmets for a hundred years. It’s the perfect place to unwind after all that eating and drinking, with a view of the Bay of Biscay to boot.
5. Palma, Spain
Mallorca has beautiful beaches and mountains to hike, but its capital, Palma, is not to be missed, especially if you want to see the golden Gothic cathedral that towers over the bay. People can take the old wooden tram down to Soller and have lunch by the marina there. Other things to see are Bellver Castle, Almudaina Palace, and the lively Lonja fish market. And it’s a city that can be enjoyed all year long since temperatures rarely drop below 18 degrees.
Where you should stay in Palma
The seafront El Llorenc Parc del Mar is close to the cathedral. It has courtyards and carved doors that show the city’s Moorish past.
6. Reykjavik, Iceland
The capital of Iceland is an excellent choice for a unique city break — the Blue Lagoon is a 45-minute drive south of the city center, but it is not to be missed. The name translates as ‘Smoky Bay,’ a reference to the steam that rises from the area’s hot springs. The coastline outside of the center is made up of coves, straits, and tiny islands, with Mount Esja visible across the bay. Keep an eye out for whales and puffins near the ancient harbour, where many trips leave. Of course, you’ll get an opportunity to see the Northern Lights.
7. Bruges, Belgium
Bruges is one of the cutest places to visit in Europe. Its medieval history and old canals made it a Unesco World Heritage Site, but not many people know about it. Admire the old architecture of the Rozenhoedkaai, be amazed by the Belfry on the Market Square, visit the almshouses, and enjoy the peace, quiet, and romance of Minnewater.
Where you should stay in Bruges
The Boutique Hotel Sablon is close to the action. It has a 16th-century facade, but the inside has been carefully updated, and it is located between the Market Square and the Zand area.
8. Porto, Portugal
Porto is the second largest city in Portugal. It is becoming more popular and is a great place to visit if you have already been to Lisbon. It’s also a great place for wine lovers, since port warehouses line the river and full-bodied red wines from the Douro region are sold everywhere. In fact, wine is so important in this area that it is even used in spa treatments.
Where you should stay in Porto
There are many nice hotels to choose from, including charming villas in the suburb of Foz, which faces the Atlantic Ocean. However, The Yeatman is the best place to stay in the city center to enjoy all that Porto has to offer.
9. Dubrovnik, Croatia
The city walls of Dubrovnik have been around in some form since the 9th century. Cobblestone streets connect the two main gates, Pile and Ploce. Fortification tours with a guide are a great way to start your trip and learn about the city. Visitors can also take a cable car up Mount Srd, shop at markets set up on baroque squares, or go to the unspoiled island of Lokrum to see its pines, palms, and cypresses.
10. Valletta, Malta
The Queen loves the honey-colored capital of Malta, and it won’t take you long to see why. One of the city’s most famous sights is the beautiful St. John’s Cathedral. The Grandmaster’s Palace, with its state rooms and armory, and the famous Knights of St. John’s Sacra Infermeria, an early hospital, are also worth seeing.
Where you should stay in Valletta
From the Barrakka Gardens, you can get great views of the harbor. For more, go to the terrace of Iniala Harbour House. It has one of the best views in the city, which you can enjoy with a bucket of ice-cold champagne.
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