5 cities you need to visit

Aled James

← Holidays

There are some cities in Europe that everyone should experience at least once, here is a list of those European gems.

Istanbul
One of the largest cities in the world, with a population of just over 14.1 million, Istanbul is a transcontinental metropolis where East really does meet West. The architecture of the city provides visitors with evidence of its 2500 years of unique history, cultural diversity and lavish past. Istanbul really is an incredible experience for your eyes; you’ll find modern skyscrapers sitting alongside century old buildings and extravagant religious buildings. Structures like the Hagia Sophia, Topkapi palace, Blue Mosque and Grand Bazaar must be seen. When the evening comes Istanbul demonstrates that it has more than just architecture to offer. After a dinner of traditional Turkish mezes, washed down with the local drink of choice, raki, you can make your way to the rooftop bars to party the night away under the stars or even just grab yourself a coffee and relax under the night sky if that suits. Istanbul is a city that you won’t forget in a hurry.

Lisbon
As Europe’s second oldest capital city, Lisbon is lucky enough to have the climate which makes it a year round destination. Due to it being a very compact and intimate setting Lisbon is described as the capital of romance and is definitely best seen on foot. This is a unique location, being Europe’s only capital to have sunsets on the sea and access to a number of beaches, sited just twenty minutes from the city centre. The city is spread across a steep hillside and if you get tired you should use the century-old tram system to get yourself to the variety of museums and tourist attractions. The must-see sights include the monastery which sits on the Belem waterfront, accompanied by a number of river facing statues and the castle which sits aloft one of the hills overlooking the rooftops. At night you can head to the bars of Boho Bairro Alto or the number of river-facing warehouse nightclubs. Lisbon has something for everyone.

Vienna 
With its hundreds of art museums and depth of musical history, Vienna is a melting pot of culture. It’s a year round destination offering warm summers and very cold winters. A typical day in the city will consist of leisurely strolls, sightseeing and coffee shops. Vienna is the home of some truly amazing sights, from the elaborate Schonbrunn Palace to the Hofburg building, the variety is amazing. An evening in Vienna should consist of a classical performance of some sort in one of the many opera houses (when in Rome), but not before you’ve enjoyed a meal of wiener schnitzel followed by warm apple strudel. It’s very easy to get around the city, the trams and underground metro systems help to transport the 8 million visitors that frequent this city on a yearly basis. A fantastic city best viewed at a slow pace.

Barcelona
This is most definitely a city best viewed on foot (or a Segway if you’re brave enough). Barcelona is a city that we all tend to know a little something about, the Nou Camp (Football stadium), tapas and some old looking church, but it’s so much more than this. Described as the capital of modernism, Barcelona offers great Mediterranean based cuisine, beaches, art, architecture, you name it, this city has it. The Sagrada Familia (designed by Antoni Gaudi) is a must see along with the Picasso museum and the bird’s eye view of the city from the Tibidabo mountain. Barcelona is also the home of the world renowned Primavera Sound festival which has attracted acts such as Disclosure and Arcade Fire. From the beach to the mountains Barcelona is a treasure trove which just keeps on giving.

Amsterdam 
Another city best viewed on foot, Amsterdam has the highest museum density in the world. So much to see and not enough time to see it all. Amsterdam became part of the UNESCO world heritage list in 2011 which speaks volumes about the city. If you’re not exploring the canal belt of 165 waterways then you can challenge yourself to visit as many of its museums as possible, how about the world renowned sex museum, the Heineken museum, the Van Gough museum or even Anne Frank’s house? If that gets a bit too much for you then park your feet at one of the many coffee shops around the city and soak up the very unique atmosphere. As night falls in Amsterdam it becomes a different beast, you can head off to the red light district or get yourself into one of the many unique bars or nightclubs, where you’ll find a night to suit every taste. Amsterdam is incredibly unique, it’s a city that has so many layers, you peel back one and the next is totally different!

 

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Aled James

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