5 beautiful cities in Europe you should visit once in a lifetime

Beautiful cities in Europe

On our road trip from Australia to Switzerland we visit some beautiful cities in Europe. In this post you will not find cities like Barcelona, London or Paris. Come with us to the awesome cities of Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius in the Baltic’s, to Warsaw in Poland and Dresden in Germany. All of them should be on your Top 10 list of cities to visit in Europe. Don’t wait too long, visit them now.

European cities are very popular. Some of them are very popular and flooded with tourists. Some of them even start to get overrun and start to lose their charm because of over tourism. So how about visiting some European cities which are not on everyone’s bucket list? Here is our list of 5 beautiful cities in Europe that you may easily fall in love with.

Read on if you like to know more about Tallinn in Estonia, Riga in Latvia, Vilnius in Lithuania, Warsaw in Poland and Dresden in Germany. All of them have blown us away because we did not expect them to be that beautiful.

Tallinn, a medieval beauty

Our personal No. 1 of beautiful cities in Europe is Tallinn, the capital city of Estonia. Marcel has been to Tallinn a few years ago in February which is the coldest month in Estonia. This time we visit Tallinn in autumn, and we love it. We walk around the old town and feel like we are doing a time travel back to the medieval era. Should you plan a trip to the Baltics you should not miss Tallinn.

Tallinn in Estonia is a beautiful city in Europe

Tallinn in Estonia is one of some beautiful cities in Europe

Things to do in Tallinn, Estonia

Freedom Square in Tallinn

When you arrive in Tallinn, visit the Freedom Square. It is one of the most important places in Tallinn (Vabaduse väljak). In summer it’s a perfect place to chill and in winter you may be lucky to see the Ice Sculptures.

Independent walk through the Old Town of Tallinn

The Old Town of Tallinn is very compact and easy to explore on foot. Dive into the Medieval atmosphere and enjoy the charming alleys.

Learn more about Tallinn on a Free City Tour

Joining a Free City Tours is one of the best things to do. In Tallinn we join the two-hour walking tour. Our Estonian guide not only tells us interesting facts about Tallinn but also more about the history, anecdotes and fun facts. We also get a great overview of Tallinn and its best lookouts and spots to go out.

The Free City Tours starts in front of the Information Center mornings and afternoons. First of all we go to the artillery tower called „Kiek in de Kök“. If you speak or understand German or Dutch, you may get an idea what it means. In English it means: Watch into the kitchen. During the medieval period they could watch from the tower into the kitchen of the citizen.

10 interesting things to do in Tallinn

  1. Walk along the Old City Wall in Tallinn
  2. Visit the Toompea castle
  3. Have a look into Alexander Newski Cathedrale, the russian-orthodox church has been built in the 1900 when Estonia still belonged to the Russian empire
  4. Take a photo from the Nikolai Church which was established in the 12th century.
  5. Walk around the Rathausplatz and enjoy the amazing atmosphere
  6. Stroll along the St. Katharinen Alley and dive into the Medieval era
  7. Buy some souvenirs at the market hall „Balti Jaama Turg“
  8. Enjoy a drink in the Telliskivi Creative City and check out the flea market on the way
  9. People watching in the harbor area Sadama with lots of restaurants and cruise ships
  10. Learn more about the secret service at the KGB Museum in Hotel Viru

The best lookouts – Don’t miss amazing views over Tallinn

There are three great lookouts on the Domberg which you should not miss.

  1. Kohtuotsa Lookout
  2. Patkuli Lookout
  3. Piiskopi Lookout

If you want to see further, you can do so from the Olai church. For a few Euros you can climb 232 steps up to the platform. The lookout is closed in winter.

Accommodation in Tallinn

Rapunzel Tower Apartment – Address: Pikk 62, Central Tallinn

Are you looking for a special accommodation centrally located? Check out Rapunzel Tower Apartment which is in a tower in the medieval city wall. Apartment with small kitchen that you may only use for breakfast. There are so many great restaurants just around the corner. Free Wifi.

Saue 1 Apartment – Adresse: Saue 1, Põhja-Tallinn

Great location near the Creative City Telliskivi. 20 minutes to walk to the Old Town. Free Wifi and parking available.

Hotel Viru – Your chance to sleep in a Ex-KGB Hotel

City Center Garden Camping – Address: Videviku 30

Another special accommodation is City Center Garden Camping. Rooms but also tents in the garden, basic but cheap. Good location, appox. 15 minutes to the Old town on foot. Wifi and parking available.

Riga, the capital of Latvia

Riga is located near the Daugava River and is another beautiful city in Europe. It is easy to walk to the most interesting places in this beautiful city. The nicest part is definitely the old town with its impressing buildings. Should you be short on time, we recommend doing a Free City Walking Tour to visit the highlights and get more information about the history of Riga.

Riga Rathaus Square one of beautiful cities in Europe

Riga Livenplatz in Latvia

In any city we usually go to the visitor information center and pick up a city map. We also ask for interesting things to do and see. The information center is on a central location. We can easily walk independently around Riga and see some amazing buildings.

Best things to see in Riga

  • The iconic House of the Blackheads is a landmark in the old city of Riga. The House of the Blackheads is for Riga like the Eiffel Tower for Paris or the Big Ben for London.
  • The Dom of Riga which has been established in 1211. The impressive tower of the Dom Church is 90 meters high.
  • The Freedom Monument in the city of Riga
  • Check out the Three Brothers. The Three Brothers are former trade buildings from the 15th, 16th and 17th century. The main attractions are the beautiful facades on Maza Pils Street. Just watch out for people who take photos and you can’t miss it.
  • The Livu Square with many restaurants nearby
  • The castle of Riga, where the National Museum is located
  • Nativity of Christ Cathedral, the biggest orthodox church in Riga
  • Have a look in the central market if you are after local specialties
  • National Library of Latvia. It’s not only an impressive building from the outside but also from the inside. It’s on the other side of the Duna River.

Accommodation in Riga

Astor Riga Hotel managed by Rezidor – Address: Zigfrīda Annas Meierovica bulvāris 10

Central location, the old town and the top things to do in Riga are easy to get on foot. Good value for money.

Painter’s House – Address: Jēkaba iela 3/5

Apartment on central location, modern rooms and a place to feel home.

Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania is a charming city

We heard about Vilnius before and we knew that the city has charm. But Vilnius exceeds all our expectations. Unfortunately, it is pouring rain when we arrive. Anyway, we can’t complain because we are travelling with our camper and we can easily crawl to the back and wait until the rain stops. That’s exactly what we do. After we finish our lunch break the rain stops and we are ready to walk around the city with its many baroque buildings.

Our parking is near the Gediminas tower, therefore we first go up there and enjoy the beautiful view over Vilnius and the surroundings. The city center is near and everything is easy accessible on foot. Except the amazing Trakai castle, which is about 30 km outside of Vilnius. Trakai is definitely worth a visit even if you are short on time. There are regular buses going to Trakai. Ask the visitor information center for detailed information and timetables. They will tell you how to get to Trakai castle by public transport.

Vilnius in Lithuania is a beautiful city in Europe

Vilnius Trakai castle

Top 10 things to do in Vilnius, Lithuania

  1. Walk up to the Gediminas tower for amazing views
  2. Walk up the hill to the Three Crosses Monument lookout
  3. Vilnius Cathedral Basilica of St Stanislaus and St Ladislaus
  4. Visit the amazing St Anne’s Church and the Church of St Francis and St Bernard
  5. Stroll around the streets in the old town in Vilnius
  6. Check out the church of St Casimir
  7. Take a look inside the Holy Spirit Church and be astonished of the magnificent interior of the roman-catholic church
  8. The St Peter and Paul Church is breathtaking. If you stand in front of the church from the baroque period, you do not expect a lot. But once you step inside, you will be amazed. Look up to the ceiling and the walls with finest stucco work.
  9. Join a Free City Walking Tour and learn more about Vilnius
  10. Visit Trakai castle and enjoy a few hours time travel into the medieval era

Accommodation in Vilnius

Sofijos Apartamentai Old Town – Address: Pilies g. 36-27A, in the old town of Vilnius

Apartment in a historical house in the heart of the old town. There is a kitchen with an oven, a microwave and kettle. Free Wifi.

Vilnius Home Bed and Breakfast – Address: Pylimo g. 14B, in the old town of Vilnius

Central location, charming B&B with a personal touch and shared kitchen. Free Wifi.

B&B&B&B&B – Address: Kauno g. 5, Naujamiestis

Central location, modern and big rooms, free Wifi.

Warsaw – A big surprise!

Warsaw in Poland is one of some beautiful cities in Europe

Warsaw is a big surprise. Not only because we did not expect Warsaw to be that beautiful but also because of the friendly people.

We enjoy Warsaw a lot. The old town with its old buildings is breathtaking. The old town is 700 years old and it is hard to believe that almost everything has been destroyed during World War II. We love the atmosphere in Warsaw with all the street cafés, terraces and street performers. We have not enough time to see it all, but we definitely want to come back one day to see more of this beautiful city in Europe.

Warsaw in Poland is a beautiful city in Europe

Old Town in Warsaw

Our Top 10 things to do in Warsaw, the capital city of Poland

  1. Do an extended walk in the old town called Stare Miasto and travel back in time. Check out the market place pl. Zamkowy and the Old Town Market Square.
  2. The Palace of Culture and Science is the landmark of Warsaw. The building is 237 m high and has 44 floors. For 20 Zloty (USD 5.30) you can enjoy awesome views from a height of 110 m (30th floor). If you are travelling on a low budget, check out No. 5 (Taras Widokowy).
  3. Visit the Warsaw Kings Palace, one of the most visited places in Warsaw, where you get an idea of how kings lived. The most impressive rooms in the palace are the throne room, the marble room and the Great Hall.
  4. Enjoy the busy atmosphere at the Warsaw’s Castle Square and Old Town Market Square.
  5. Go up to the tower Taras Widokowy for great views overlooking the old town of Warsaw. Tickets 6 Zloty (USD 1.60)
  6. Visit the Nowe Miasto (new town). The town is not new anymore because it has been built after World War II but it was back then. You will find many churches, barock buildings, restaurants and cafés. Also in Nowe Miasto is the Multimedia Fountain Park where you find the monument of Maria Skłodowska Curie who received the Nobel Prize.
  7. Shopping and walking along Krakowskie Przedmieście Street where you find all kind of shops, souvenirs, restaurants and cafés.
  8. Longing for nature? How about a scenic boat cruise on the Vistula River?
  9. Eager to learn more about Warsaw? There are plenty of museums you can visit. For example, the National Museum of Warsaw, Copernicus Science Centre, Fryderyk-Chopin-Museum or the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews.
  10. Impressive Stadion PGE Narodowy. The stadion has a capacity for 58‘000 people.

Accommodation in Warsaw

Novotel Warszawa Centrum – Address: Marszałkowska 94/98, Śródmieście

Central location near the Culture Palace and main station, nice and comfortable rooms with free Wifi.

SleepWell Apartments Nowy Świat – Address: Nowy Świat 62, Śródmieście

Great location at the Nowy Świat with many restaurants, cafés and shops around the corner. Top attractions of Warsaw are easy accessible. Stylish rooms with free Wifi.

Stare Miasto Miodowa 26 – Address: 26 Miodowa, Śródmieście

Apartment in the old town of Warsaw. Great location with restaurants and cafés nearby. Comfortable rooms with free Wifi.

Dresden is worth a visit all year round

First thing that comes to our mind if we hear Dresden is the Saxon State Opera (Semperoper). But the city of Dresden has a lot more to offer. For people who love old buildings from the renaissance, baroque and the art nouveau will love Dresden. There is a lot of history, especially in the old town.

Old Town in Dresden

Dresden in Germany one of some beautiful cities in Europe

We can park our camper near the center and get great tips from a local. People in Dresden are very friendly, helpful and they always have time for a little chat.

Things to do in Dresden

  • Take a photo of the Dresden Cathedral which was built during 1739 to 1755.
  • Book a ticket for an evening in the opera and enjoy an unforgettable show in the world famous Semperoper.
  • Walk around the huge garden of the Zwinger palace and enjoy the great atmosphere with its many pavilions and fountains.
  • Have a look at the Dresden castle, one of the oldest buildings in Dresden
  • Visit the Frauenkirche. The famous Lutheran church is located in the center of the old town. Do you like to see Dresden from above? For great views you can climb the platform (Entry fee EUR 8 / USD 9)
  • Enjoy a cup of coffee or a beer in the old town of Dresden.
  • Don’t miss to visit the Pfundsmolkerei. For us it’s the nicest dairy we’ve ever seen. Yes, it’s touristy but worth a visit.
  • Walk along the Elbe River or join a boat cruise.

Dresden Elbe River

Beer and Haxn at the Brewery Waldschlösschen

Are you hungry or fancy a nice German beer? Check out Brauerei Waldschlösschen. Great special deals on some days!

Accommodation in Dresden

Hotel Pullman Dresden Newa – Address: Prager Street 2c
Designhotel on a good location, only 3 minutes to walk to the main station, rooms with a view, free Wifi.

Alte Remise – Address: Königsbrücker Street 45 (Entrance Eschen Street 2)
Great location in Dresden Neustadt. Charming accommodation with nice garden. Quiet but central, free Wifi.

Vienna House QF Hotel Dresden – Address: Neumarkt 1, Old Town
Fancy some luxury? The 5 star Vienna House QF Hotel Dresden is on one of the best locations in the center, right next to the iconic Frauenkirche. Modern interior, big and comfortable rooms and free Wifi.

Summary

We visited all above European cities on our road trip from Russia to Switzerland. Read more about our overland trip from Vladivostok to Moscow and the fascinating country of Russia.

Guide Books to plan your trip

We mainly use Lonely Planet to plan our trips. Check this Guide Book for your Europe trip

Lonely Planet also has a Guide Book especially for Eastern Europe

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Beautiful cities in Europe

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