Thursday, 27 August 2009

Top 10 European cultural cities to travel


If you want to come to Europe and see historic buildings, paintings and beautiful architecture these are the cities you should certainly visit.

1) Rome

Rome, the eternal city. This city has so much history you will literally find something historic on every street corner. Historical buildings determine the skyline of the city. Since this city is more than two millennia old, you can find art work and buildings that date back to before the birth of Christ but there are also some modern and trendy buildings. You can walk through Rome for days and never see something twice since there is so much to see and do in the capital of Italy. Rome also has an added bonus, The Vatican. This city state, home to the pope, boasts even more artwork. Go see the Sistine chapel or St. Peters square and imagine the number of people that have gone before you. Rome offers you the chance to be part of history.

2) Florence

Florence is an Italian city in the beautiful Tuscan countryside is one of the most stunning cities in Europe. It was ruled by the powerful De Medici family for centuries and they left a clear mark on the city. Many of the beautiful buildings, churches, cathedrals, museums and artworks where commissioned or paid for by this family. It is also the city in which the Renaissance movement was born. This can be noticed on every street corner through works of art or one of the beautiful museums. Museums that are must-sees are Galleria dell Uffizi and the Galleria Dell Accademia, the latter being the home of the famous statue of David. Other sights to be seen are the beautiful famous bridge of Ponte Vecchio and the Domo cathedral. This city has so many sights on offer that it could keep you occupied for weeks, if not months.

3) Berlin

Berlin was formerly a divided city, now capital of an unified Germany, started to flourish after the wall was torn down in 1989. The capital began to reinvent itself; art began to thrive and tourists started to arrive in droves. For many years now, tourists visit Berlin for its great cutting edge architecture, fantastic night life and the abundance of museums and historic attractions. A great place to go for museums is the Museumsinsel. This island houses 5 different museums; Neues Museum, Bode-Museum, Alte Nationalgalerie, Pergamonmuseum and the Altes Museum. If you want to see more of Berlin’s recent history you should visit the Checkpoint Charlie or go past the East Side Gallery, a remnant of the Berlin Wall. But whatever you do, it is almost impossible to get bored in this vibrant city.

4) Paris

Another European city that cannot be left off the list of cultural cities in Europe is Paris. There are so many places in this city that are a must-see for either art lovers or the more history minded tourists. Not to be missed are the Louvre museum, with the world famous Mona Lisa, and the Venus de Milo. The Musee d’Orsay is also worth a visit. This former train station now houses work by Renoir, Cezanne, van Gogh and Monet. If you are more into architecture then you can’t leave out a visit to the Centre Pompidou and the Eiffel tower. And if you have had your fill of culture for the day, why not stroll the streets looking for that perfect little restaurant of bistro to enjoy some fine French cuisine.

5) Vienna

This big capital within a relatively small country was the seat of the Ruling Habsburg family from 1282 to 1918. They supplied all the rulers of the Holy Roman Empire, besides also ruling countries like Spain and Hungary. The family had to leave Vienna after WWI and thus left their palaces and a lot of pieces of art. A lot of these palaces and pieces of art are now on display to the public. They give a peak into European history and the wealth of the Habsburg family.

6) London

The city of London. This capital of the former British empire still has a lot of buildings that remind you of the glory that once was. The museums in London are filled with art works, old and new, from all over the world. Besides the history to be found in the city, London also has a vibrant modern art scene. The city of London is a cultural center of the world and is most definitely worth a visit.

7) Amsterdam

Amsterdam is a city that is well known for its canals, beautiful old buildings and museums which are filled with Dutch masters. The city attracts millions of visitors each year and to many it is the starting point for a trip through Europe. Because of this, the city is also called the gateway to Europe. This city has something on offer for every traveler and is a place that can be visited all year round.

8 ) Barcelona

Barcelona, capital city of the autonomous region of Catalonia is a beautiful Mediterranean city. Besides the atmospheric Catalan culture, Barcelona also has a lot of art and museums which can be visited, the highlight being the Gaudi Museum. Next to having a museum, Gaudi created one of Barcelona’s signature landmarks; the Sagrada Familia. This cathedral has been under construction since 1882 and is open to the public. From its towers, you have a beautiful view of the city. Barcelona is a gem of a city on the Mediterranean sea and one that should be on everyone’s traveling wish list.

9) Venice

If you think of romance you think of Venice but this city has so much more on offer. This former wealthy city state has a lot of architectural gems and cultural treasures within its city walls. The city can only be traversed on foot or by boat, which is an unique experience that other cities can’t provide. The beautiful buildings and piazzas clearly show that Venice was once a powerful and wealthy city. Whatever your reasons are for visiting Venice will leave you with everlasting memories.

10) Prague

Prague used to carry the name Paris of the East and righteously so. This beautiful city has bloomed after it shrugged off its communist past. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, Prague started renovating its beautiful inner city. The beautiful collection of Baroque, Gothic and Renaissance buildings have since regained their shine. When in Prague visit one of the many museums, cross the fantastic Charles Bridge or stroll around the Jewish quarter. And don’t forget to enjoy all of the unique sights that surround you.

(USA today)


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