3 of the Best European Cities

Euro Vacations Guide - Paris

The best European cities need to have a mixture of fun and culture and a variety of things to do and see, so here are just 3 of the best European cities:

London

London is a city of culture, fashion and much else. You can stroll or ride in the Royal parks or enjoy a boat trip on the Serpentine or the Thames. See the world’s famous people in wax at Madame Tussauds, or travel to the planetarium at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich to explore the stars and galaxies, via the amazing astronomy related films shown on a digital laser projector.

Visit the East End for a taste of the traditional Cockney environment and the West End for haute cuisine and theatre. Tate Modern, Tate Britain, the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery should satisfy the hungriest art lover and the Victoria and Albert Museum can keep you occupied for days. The Natural History Museum and the Science Museum will fascinate kids and adults alike with their interactive displays.

Regents Park Zoo will also make the kids happy and the London Eye gives everyone a bird’s eye view.

Shopping venues are too numerous to mention and Carnaby Street, that icon of the 60s is still there.

London is a sprawling city, but buses, taxis, and the underground and overground train system (the tube) will make your travel easy. If you want to do everything, I would recommend that you spend at least a week in London.

Paris

Another one of the best European cities is Paris. It’s much smaller than London and therefore easier to walk to just about everywhere, but it too has an underground system (the Metro) as well as taxis and buses. No visit to Paris would be complete without a visit to the Louvre art gallery and museum, where the famed Mona Lisa resides, and you can cool your feet in the fountain outside the glass pyramid which forms part of the entrance.

The nearby Musée D’Orsay is the home of probably the largest collection of Impressionist paintings in the world and much more besides. On the Isle de la Cité, you can see the famed Notre Dame cathedral, erstwhile home of the Hunchback of Notre Dame, and from almost everywhere, the huge structure that is the Eiffel Tower.

Take the metro to Abesses and the funiculaire up to the Sacré Coeur, and watch the artists at work, or stroll Montmartre and Pigalle to see the seedier side of life.

For the kids, there’s always Disneyland, a short trip from the city, but you won’t get away with just one day there.

You can probably see most of the famous sights of Paris if you walk a lot and stay for three full days, but if you’re taking in Disneyland, allow for three more.

Madrid

You need to be a night owl to fully enjoy Madrid as the Madreleños are real party animals, and think nothing of starting their evening out with tapas, followed by dinner, then a club, returning home any time between 3 and 6 am (even if they’re working) which is why, as with most Spanish cities, Madrid closes down in the afternoon for the siesta period. So, do your sightseeing in the morning.

The main street is the Gran Via which is typically noisy and lined with bars, shops and cinemas. The Palacio Real (Royal Palace) is a short stroll from here and well worth a visit. The Retiro gardens offer a welcome respite from the noise and the traffic, and adjoin the famous Prado art gallery and museum, home to a large collection of Spanish artists such as Goya, Velázquez and Ribera as well as many others. Just opposite the Prado is a sweet little botanical garden.

Visit the Plaza Mayor, admire the painted facades and eat tapas or suckling pig. If you want shopping, the giant El Corté Inglés department store is nearby.

I’ve really only scratched the surface of the best European cities, as I haven’t touched on Vienna, Rome, Venice, Florence and others, but hopefully this will give you a taste for travelling Europe.

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