The charm of the old continent is never waning. Every year tourists from all over the world choose Europe for their cultural and relaxing travels. Every major European city hides secret corners, little-known monuments, and unmissable atmospheres that are worth discovering and savoring. In addition to the most popular destinations, such as Rome, Paris, London, and Berlin, there are many less popular which can give you pleasant surprises.
Interested in discovering which are the most beautiful capital cities in Europe?
Here’s the list of the 20 European capitals to visit in 2021!
|Capital||State||Average cost of stay (5 days / 4 nights)||Period|
|Budapest||Hungary||from € 240.00 per person||Autumn|
|Madrid||Spain||from € 258.00 per person||Autumn|
|Prague||Czech Republic||from € 214.00 per person||Spring|
|Vienna||Austria||from € 288.00 per person||Autumn|
|Berlin||Germany||from € 190.00 per person||Summer|
|London||UK||from € 232.00 per person||Summer|
|Helsinki||Finland||from € 452.00 per person||Summer|
|Lisbon||Portugal||from € 378.00 per person||Spring|
|Copenhagen||Denmark||from € 504.00 per person||Summer|
|Amsterdam||Netherlands||from € 318.00 per person||Spring|
|Athens||Greece||from € 238.00 per person||Spring|
|Moscow||Russia||from € 422.00 per person||Summer|
|Warsaw||Poland||from € 254.00 per person||Summer|
|Brussels||Belgium||from € 272.00 per person||Spring|
|Edinburgh||Scotland||from € 376.00 per person||Summer|
|Montecarlo||Principality of Monaco||from € 502.00 per person||Autumn|
|Rome||Italy||from € 194.00 per person||Autumn|
|Stockholm||Sweden||from € 300.00 per person||Summer|
|Paris||France||from € 268.00 per person||Summer|
|Dublin||Ireland||from € 444.00 per person||Summer|
1. Budapest, Hungary
Budapest is classic and grand, but also cheap and fun. It’s nicknamed the “Paris of the East” for some landscapes and city corners.
This majestic city was born from the union of Buda and Pest, which were divided by the slow flow of the Danube. It bears the style of ancient Central Europe as well as Vienna and Prague. During the day, you can visit interesting museums and historic churches, and at night, you can immerse yourself in the lively nightlife in the clubs in the area.
The monuments you can’t miss are undoubtedly the Royal Palace, which houses the National Gallery, the Bastion, and the Matthias Church.
Budapest can also be a relaxing city due to its many famous spas which offer a unique experience, especially in winter, when the city is covered in snow. If you want to relax, remember to buy the 1-day pass to the Széchenyi Spa without queuing, otherwise, you risk wasting too much precious time waiting for the queues.
The best time to visit Budapest, both for the cheapest prices and the more favorable climate, is that of the intermediate seasons and, in particular, May, June, and September.
Plan Your Trip to Budapest: Costs and Useful Information
Best period: from March to June and from September to November
Accommodation: hotels and b&b from €45 per room
Flight + hotel (5 days / 4 nights): from €240 per person
2. Madrid, Spain
If you want to visit a European capital and are looking for a city full of day and night entertainment and attractions, go to Madrid. It is truly the city of nightlife, where entertainment lasts night and day. Here is the origin of some sayings related to the city, such as Madrid me mata (Madrid kills me) and Madrid nunca duerme (Madrid never sleeps)!
The city is not only carefree and dilated rhythms, but also houses precious masterpieces of art. Prado Museum, Queen Sofia Art Center, Good Retirement Park, the Royal Palace, and Main Square (Plaza Mayor) are just some of the many tourist attractions and cultural sights Madrid offers. For football lovers, a visit to the famous Santiago Bernabeu Stadium is a must!
Plan Your Trip to Madrid: Costs and Useful Information
Best time: autumn or spring
Accommodation: hotels and b&b from €51 per room
Flight + hotel (5 days / 4 nights): from €258 per person
3. Prague, Czech Republic
Prague is one of the most visited European cities and a very popular destination, especially for young people. This city is famous for several aspects, such as the very low cost of living, the large number of pubs and clubs, and exciting entertainment.
To get to know Prague, one must definitely visit its must-see places, such as the castle and the famous Astronomical Clock, and get lost in the winding alleys of the Jewish quarter, masterfully told in the novels of Franz Kafka. Everywhere, you will find cafés that invite you to come and sit and you can go on a boat excursion on the Vltava River.
The Gothic Charles Bridge and the Church of San Nicola in the Small Quarter are magnificent religious constructions in Baroque style.
If you stay a few days, consider purchasing the Prague Card.
The best time to visit Prague is summer, preferably from June to September. But, if you love the cold, snow, and the winter atmosphere typical of continental capitals, the best months are December and January, during which Prague presents itself snowy and Christmasy.
Plan Your Trip to Prague: Costs and Useful Information
Best time: summer, spring, and winter
Accommodation: hotels and b&b from €45 per room
Flight + hotel (5 days / 4 nights): from €214 per person
4. Vienna, Austria
Capital of the Hapsburg Empire and one of the major reference centers of Central European arts and culture for several centuries, Vienna has maintained the image of this fascinating past.
It’s a hospitable city, on a human level, and full of attractions. It offers large internationally famous museums, headquartered in ancient residences of the Habsburg dynasty, which also has a wonderful historic center, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Go around the city in a carriage, admire the works of Schiele and Klimt, and taste the delicious Austrian sweets, maybe at the Hotel Sacher where you can’t miss tasting the mythical Sacher cake.
Vienna is a very interesting city from several points of view. It owes its charm to the Danube river crossing it, to the numerous historic buildings, and to the presence of influential figures such as Mozart, Beethoven, and Freud, who have left it with a rich artistic and intellectual, and, above all, musical heritage.
The St. Stephen’s Cathedral, La Ringstraße (19th-century street along which there are numerous monuments), the State Opera, the Parliament, the town hall, and the numerous theaters will make your visit truly unforgettable.
Plan Your Trip to Vienna: Costs and Useful Information
Best time: spring and autumn
Accommodation: hotels and b&b from €59 per room
Flight + hotel (5 days / 4 nights): from €288 per person
5. Berlin, Germany
The capital of Germany is a city that has been wounded, destroyed, rebuilt, and has become the protagonist of European and world history in the last 60 years. Throughout the city, there are more or less long stretches of what was once the “wall” that prevented free movement between West Berlin and the East German territory.
From the post-war period to 1989, Berlin was able to re-evaluate and rediscover its treasures of the history of humanity, which was hidden from this dark period. Today, Berlin is also known as one of the capitals of electronic music, design, and fashion.
The Reichstag building is one of the main attractions, along with the Cathedral, which is located in the Mitte district, the TV Tower, and the famous Brandenburg Gate. Don’t forget the huge Tiergarten park, Alexanderplatz, and the memorial of the victims of the Holocaust.
Plan Your Trip to Berlin: Costs and Useful Information
Best period: from May to September
Accommodation: hotels and b&b from €35 per room
Flight + hotel (5 days / 4 nights): from €190 per person
6. London, UK
Chaotic and multi-ethnic, modern but with a retro soul, London is one of those cities that never get bored and can reveal new aspects of themselves every time. Suitable for tourists of all ages, the English capital is perfect for a cultural holiday thanks to the vast museum offer, but also ideal for those who love evening and night entertainment, those who want to enjoy a bit of tranquility in the lush parks (there are many green areas), shopaholic, and those who enjoy food and vintage items markets.
You just have to decide where you’ll start from exploring this dynamic and multi-ethnic metropolis. There are numerous attractions and museums in London, including the very rich British Museum, the Tate Modern, the National Gallery, and the Natural History Museum.
For those who don’t suffer from vertigo, we recommend a ride on the London Eye, the tallest Ferris wheel in the world, and then a visit to the admirable Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, and Buckingham Palace. You can’t leave London without strolling through Camden Town, the neighborhood famous for its colorful markets.
If you are traveling with kids, don’t miss the Harry Potter and Warner Bros Studios tour to discover the places and behind-the-scenes of the Harry Potter movies among the extravagant sets, props, and costumes used.
Plan Your Trip to London: Costs and Useful Information
Best time: spring/summer
Accommodation: hotels and b&b from €43 per room
Flight + hotel (5 days / 4 nights): from €232 per person
7. Helsinki, Finland
Helsinki is the capital of Finland, as well as the largest city in the entire Scandinavian nation, with nearly 600,000 inhabitants. It’s a fascinating destination enjoyable not only in winter but also in the hottest months of the year. Despite the low temperatures in the coldest months, the city reveals some of its most unique features, such as the Midnight Sun and the Northern Lights. The sea and the lakes become frozen and many events follow one another.
In summer, however, the sun never sets for almost 2 months. Leaving the disco at 4 am and finding the sun shining brightly is an experience that you can hardly find somewhere else!
Don’t miss the main square, Kauppatori, which is located directly on the sea. There is a very rich market where you can buy original Finnish handmade souvenirs. Other sights worth visiting are the imposing Orthodox Uzpenski Cathedral and Alexanderinkatu Street, the most famous in Helsinki where Santa Claus makes his parade on a reindeer sleigh at the beginning of the Christmas period.
Plan Your Trip to Helsinki: Costs and Useful information
Best time: summer for the weather, winter for sports and Christmas
Accommodation: hotels and b&b from €78 per room
Flight + hotel (5 days / 4 nights): from €452 per person
8. Lisbon, Portugal
Popular, indolent, and melancholic like all large seaside cities, Lisbon is often underestimated but full of charm. When there, you have to discover the districts from Bairro Alto to Baixa, passing through Belem and Chiado. There, you will discover the true cultural identity of Lisbon, listen, and fully appreciate the characteristic and melancholic fado played in some of the typical venues.
Furthermore, Lisbon is crossed by the Tagus River, so you can’t miss a river cruise, maybe at sunset, passing by the Belem tower.
Lisbon is also a gastronomic adventure. And, while it’s true that cod is one of the typical dishes of the Portuguese capital, the culinary offer is much wider and more varied! A must-know fact is that every meal in Lisbon always beings with snacks brought to the table even if you haven’t requested them and are paid only if consumed.
Finally, you can’t miss the surrounding places! A one-day trip excursion to Sintra, Cabo da Roca, and Cascais, a UNESCO heritage, is a must among the castles, palaces, and natural parks.
Plan Your Trip to Lisbon: Costs and Useful Information
Best period: from March to May and from September to October
Accommodation: hotels and b&b from €75 per room
Flight + hotel (5days / 4 nights): from €378 per person
9. Copenaghen, Denmark
Copenhagen is a city waiting to be discovered: multifaceted, colorful, lively, and full of charm and contradictions… it’s the perfect place for a city break in Europe. It has many attractions and places that you have to visit.
The Tivoli Gardens amusement park, the second oldest in the world, is one of the main attractions suitable for kids but also adults. We recommend buying a skip-the-line ticket so that you don’t waste any of your precious time. Another popular destination is the Little Mermaid statue along with the partially self-managed Free City of Christiania, located in the heart of Copenhagen. Finally, you can’t miss a day excursion to Hamlet Castle, crossing the landscapes of North Zealand, and visiting Frederiksborg Castle and the Viking Ship Museum.
Copenhagen is an easy and safe city to visit. The city center is quite small, so you can easily explore it on foot in no time.
Plan Your Trip to Copenhagen: Costs and Useful Information
Best period: from July to November
Accommodation: hotels and b&b from €106 per room
Flights + hotel (5 days / 4 nights): from €504 per person
10. Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Valiant, determined, merciful… It is with these adjectives that the inhabitants of Amsterdam usually refer to the Dutch capital, the land of tulips, nightlife, art, and culture.
Amsterdam has a system of canals that has allowed it to conquer the nickname “Venice of the North”. Just as you shouldn’t miss the gondola ride in Venice, you shouldn’t miss a trip on the Amsterdam canals. One of the most popular tourist destinations, this city has always been considered a symbol of fun, especially the “forbidden”, because of the presence of the famous “coffee shops” and in general for the nightlife (discos, red light clubs, and special places).
But Amsterdam is also renowned for its many cultural activities, architecture, and museums, including the Van Gogh Museum, Rijksmuseum, and the Anne Frank House.
If you really want to really experience Amsterdam, you need to get to know its thousand souls by exploring it by bike, immortalizing it in photography, and experiencing it during day and night. Make sure you don’t miss a trip to the Windmill villages, such as Zaanse Schans, Volendam, and Marken.
Plan Your Trip to Amsterdam: Costs and Useful Information
Best period: April and May, from September to November
Accommodation: hotels and b&b from €49 per room
Flight + hotel (5 days / 4 nights): from €318 per person
11. Athens, Greece
Athens is one of the oldest cities in the world and today is huge and crowded. But you can still breathe the almost sacred atmosphere of Ancient Greece: art, philosophy, history, and, most of all, politics and democracy which were born and have developed in the capital of Greece.
This city offers a lot, in terms of archaeological level, sea, entertainment, and good food. The first place to see is definitely the Acropolis. Then continue to the agora, the market with the temple dedicated to Hephaestus, the temple dedicated to Zeus, and the arch of Hadrian. There are also over 50 museums present, with the Acropolis Museum, the National Archaeological Museum, the Byzantine Museum, the Music Museum, and the War Museum being some of them.
But the Greek capital, with its 4,000 years of culinary tradition, its genuine and decisive flavors, and spices, will also involve you in a truly unique gastronomic experience, and at affordable prices.
Plan Your Trip to Athens: Costs and Useful Information
Best time: spring
Accommodation: hotels and b&b from €40 per room
Flight + hotel (5 days / 4 nights): from €238 per person
12. Moscow, Russia
Former residence of tsars and capital of Russia, it’s the main economic and financial center of an immense country as well as the most populated city in entire Europe with its 12 million citizens. And, due to its geographical location, Moscow is also one of the coldest capitals in the world with often prohibitive temperatures.
However, Moscow is waiting to be discovered and visited even during the very cold winter. The first stop is the famous Red Square with its cathedrals, museums, and complexes rich in history and culture. You definitely have to visit Saint Basil’s Cathedral, which is known and recognized around the globe for its colors and multiple coverages. There is also the Kremlin fortress, the residence of the Russian President. And, in the heart of the city stand the 20 towers and the Tsar’s Bell, the largest in the world.
Plan Your Trip to Moscow: Costs and Useful Information
Best period: from May to September
Accommodation: hotels and b&b from €55 per room
Flight + hotel (5 days / 4 nights): from €422 per person
13. Warsaw, Poland
Warsaw was called the Paris of the North in the 18th century and sits on the banks of the Vistula RIver. It was destroyed during the Second World War by Nazi bombings, but the Old Town was fortunately rebuilt as it was originally. The peripheral area, on the contrary, is very young, modern, and dynamic. Its symbol is the majestic Palace of Culture and Science, which was built in Soviet-style.
Warsaw is a city full of contrasts; a perfect combination of old and new, with historic buildings and the most modern buildings next to each other. It’s also one of the greenest cities in Europe, with over 79 parks and an area equal to 25% dedicated to lush gardens, green areas of various sizes, tree-lined avenues, and squares embellished with flowers and ornamental plants.
When it comes to the surroundings, you just can’t miss a day trip to Auschwitz, the famous concentration camp.
Life in Poland is relatively cheap, except for the period after Christmas and in May, when the high season begins. The prices are always affordable and you can easily find direct flights from most countries in Europe.
Plan Your Trip to Warsaw: Costs and Useful Information
Best period: from June to August
Accommodation: hotels and b&b from €42 per room
Flight + hotel (5days / 4 nights): from €254 per person
14. Brussels, Belgium
Brussels is a multicultural city rich in history. The main square, the Grand Place, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, defined by Victor Hugo as “the most beautiful square in the world”. The Atomium is one of the symbolic monuments of Brussels and was built for the Universal Exposition of 1958.
Brussels is also called the “European Village” due to the high concentration of shops, bars, and restaurants where you can taste excellent chocolate and the famous Belgian beer.
Influenced by the Atlantic, the Belgian capital’s climate is humid all year round. The best times to visit it are those that don’t coincide with the most important holidays of the year, such as Christmas and New Year. For the rest of the year, spring and autumn are the best seasons.
Plan Your Trip to Brussels: Costs and Useful Information
Best time: spring and autumn
Accommodation: hotels and b&b from €54 per room
Flight + hotel (5 days / 4 nights): from €272 per person
15. Edinburgh, Scotland
The capital of Scotland is a city with a “dark”, mysterious charm. Recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, it can conquer you only with that mysterious something that hovers through its streets, inside its monuments, and exudes from the walls of its buildings made in a successful mix of 19th-century, gothic and medieval styles.
It is a city of a thousand faces, with a thousand-year history and with many legends accompanying it. The medieval charm of the Old Town, where the ancient castle dominates, precedes the Royal Mile, the most famous street in the center that leads up to the fairytale Holyroodhouse Palace.
But Edinburgh also has nightlife, ethnic and seafood restaurants, pints of beer, as well as nature with Arthur’s Seat being one of the most recognizable sights. Yes, that of the famous monster; the most impressive and spectacular volcano in Scotland.
The capital of Scotland offers many wonders to see but also to taste. But pay attention to the times: lunch is served from 12 pm to 2 pm and dinner from 6 pm to 8 pm/
And the surroundings? You definitely can’t miss an excursion to nearby Loch Ness.
Plan Your Trip to Edinburgh: Costs and Useful Information
Best time: summer, from June to August
Accommodation: hotels and b&b from €71 per room
Flight + hotel (5 days / 4 nights): from €376 per person
16. Montecarlo, Principality of Monaco
The Principality of Monaco has always been a city-state synonymous with luxury and beauty. It is a city where many luxury shops, museums, and the famous casino are located.
With all that lux, Montecarlo is definitely not a cheap location to stay overnight. However, if you love luxury, there, you will find a wide range of international chains ready to pamper and spoil you.
Do you love speed? The famous Formula 1 Grand Prix takes place there every year. Do you like fairy tales? American actress Grace Kelly married Prince Rainier there.
The center of the city can be easily explored on foot and it’s thus possible to admire Palazzo Grimaldi, with its specific ceremony of the changing of the guard, which takes place at 11:55 every day.
For the more mundane, and for those who can afford it, a stroll through the shopping streets is recommended. And, if you want to experience a VIP hour, you can always book a Ferrari ride!
Plan Your Trip to Montecarlo: Costs and Useful Information
Best period: spring or autumn, especially in April and October
Accommodation: hotels and b&b from € 89 per room
Flight + hotel (5 days / 4 nights): from €502 per person
17. Rome, Italy
Rome is universally considered among the most beautiful capitals in the world with millions of tourists from all over the world all year round. It’s home to so many attractions that it’s impossible to list them all. Some of them are the Colosseum, St. Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican and its museums, the Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountain, Piazza Navona and the Imperial Forums, and then the Pantheon, the Altar of the Fatherland, and the splendid Sistine Chapel.
Rome can be visited at any time of the year, but spring is the best season to avoid rain and humidity or excessive summer heat.
The capital also offers a respectable culinary culture, with traditional dishes that will make you lick your lips. Bucatini alla gricia, tripe alla romana, spaghetti with cheese and pepper, carbonara, and porchetta are just some of the unmissable specialties to taste in the eternal city.
Plan Your Trip to Rome: Costs and Useful Information
Best time: spring
Accommodation: hotels and b&b from €32 per room
Flight + hotel (5 days / 4 nights): from €194 per person
18. Stockholm, Sweden
If you are not afraid of the cold and want to visit one of the most elegant and fascinating cities in Europe, go to Stockholm. The capital of Sweden is tidy and efficient, easily visited on foot although it has excellent public transport, rich in culture, traditions as well as innovation.
All the history of Stockholm is contained in the medieval streets of the old town, Gamla Stan. The Royal Palace, the Gothic churches as well as the Swedish-designed bars, cafes, restaurants, and gift shops contribute to a truly unique Nordic atmosphere. Also, you can’t miss the exclusive boutiques, shops, and department stores in Östermalmor. And, if you are a fan of Stieg Larsson and the movies inspired by the Millennium trilogy, you cannot miss the Millennium Tour organized through the streets of Södermalm.
In the summer, the sun stays high until late in the evening, hence, you have 19 hours of light available to explore parks, canals, design, and architecture.
Plan Your Trip to Stockholm: Costs and Useful Information
Best time: summer for those looking for a mild climate, winter for winter sports enthusiasts
Accommodation: hotels and b&b from €60 per room
Flight + hotel (5 days / 4 nights): from €300 per person
19. Paris, France
Always considered the center of romance to the extent of being known as the capital of lovers, Paris offers countless activities to do and places to visit for all types of tourists. Needless to say, it’s one of the most beautiful and visited cities in the world. The D’Orsay Museum and the Louvre are the most famous city museums, whereas the Eiffel Tower and the Notre-Dame Catherdral are the symbols not only of Paris but of entire France.
The secret to visiting Paris properly is to leave prepared and avoid tourist traps, such as restaurants and clubs that charge stratospheric prices while offering not exactly excellent quality. Also, if you are traveling with kids, don’t forget to visit Disneyland! We recommend the one-day FastPass ticket for the tourist attractions, otherwise, you risk being stuck in the queue for hours.
Plan Your Trip to Paris: Costs and Useful Information
Best period: from June to August
Accommodation: hotels and b&b from €54 per room
Flight + hotel (5 days / 4 nights): from €268 per person
20. Dublin, Ireland
Known for being a city on a human level, Dublin is a popular destination for young people and adults alike. Elegant, with never exaggerated rhythms, the capital of Ireland is also the largest and most populous city in the country. Its pubs and beer are world-famous as well as the easy-going spirit of its citizens. Despite the leaden climate, the atmosphere is always sunny and cheerful!
Dublin hides great surprises in terms of literature, history, and friendliness. You can stop and enjoy the view of the River Liffey from the Ha’penny Bridge walkway, a true city icon, or head to the Powerscourt Shopping Center for a unique shopping experience.
Among the must-sees are Trinity College, the Castle and St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and Guinness Storehouse, the most famous stout brewery in the world which is one of the symbols of the city. In the surroundings, you should visit the famous Cliffs of Moher.
If you plan to go there in March, make sure you don’t miss St. Patrick’s Day. And, don’t forget to toast with a cool beer!
Plan Your Trip to Dublin: Costs and Useful Information
Best time: spring – on the occasion of St. Patrick’s Day, summer
Accommodation: hotels and b&b from €87 per room
Flight + hotel (5 days / 4 nights): from €444 per person
All Other European Capitals
|San Marino||San Marino|
|Sarajevo||Bosnia and Herzegovina|