Europe is undeniably a treasure trove when it comes to history and culture. From the alluring architecture to the colourful history, if you have an interest in history and culture then there are many fantastic cities to explore. Whilst there are the usual suspects such as Paris and Rome there are also a number of places considered ‘off the beaten’ track which have their own intriguing and interesting culture to offer.
If you want to book a short break to a European city and want to ensure that there will be enough culture to interest you then why not consider one of the following cities:-
Lovers of history will be sure to fall head over heels with all that London has to offer and we would consider this a real must visit city. From Buckingham Palace to the British Museum, the city is just steeped in a rich and colourful history. Must-sees on your list should include the Tower of London, the National Gallery and the Natural History Museum. If you have a particular interest in military history be sure to check out the Imperial War Museum and the Cabinet War Rooms or for naval fans then head to Greenwich.
If you are looking for good value accommodation then hunt out hotels in Bayswater Road, London. You will find a good variety of options here which will allow for an extended break.
Tallinn is one of the best preserved medieval towns in Northern Europe but this is not where its charm truly lies; that is in the interesting mix of the modern and the old-fashioned. There is a stunning combination of architectural styles which takes visitors through the various periods in history from the Middle Ages right through to the present time. Highlights of a visit should include the Kiek in de Kök museum and Kadriorg Palace – Kadriog Art Museum, a magnificent Baroque palace which is home to hundreds of 16th to 20th century paintings.
Sometimes known as Hermannstadt, Sibiu is a culturally diverse town in the very heart of Romania which was crowned the European Capital of Culture in 2007. Unfortunately, because of its size and the poor promotion of tourism in Romania as a whole, this status went relatively unnoticed despite it being such an interesting and diverse hub of culture in the country. If you visit here be sure to check out the Astra Museum, one of the best open air museums in Europe, the Brukenthal Museum and the medieval Old Town which makes for an ideal afternoon’s exploration investigating the hidden cafes and admiring the historic architecture.
This city recently featured in Dan Brown’s popular novel ‘Inferno’ and will no doubt be hoping to see an increase in the number of tourists wanting to visit the world-class attractions mentioned therein. If you are short on time, three attractions stand out as those which shouldn’t be missed: the cathedral which has stood since the Roman age, the Uffizi Gallery which is home to Italy’s greatest collection of Renaissance artwork and the Florentine Church, the Duomo. You would be hard-pressed to find another city which has such a large concentration of art and culture within its walls.
Think picturesque cobblestone walkways crisscrossed with canals and idyllic bridges and you have captured the essence of what makes Bruges such a lovely place to visit. Often overlooked in favour of Brussels, Bruges is home to some of the country’s finest chocolatiers which have stood for centuries alongside medieval Flemish architecture and a towering cathedral which dominates the skyline. If you visit during the winter season then it appears to be something out of a fairytale.
On top of this you will find no less than 30 museums, the highest number of Michelin-starred restaurants in the world, and a 15th century Abbey. No wonder Bruges is considered to be such a gem of a city.
Rotterdam is home to one of the largest pieces of artwork in the whole of the Netherlands; which is the size of two football pitches. The Markthal is not only the first indoor market in the Netherlands, but this 10,000 square metre feature also has 11,000 square metres of art on its ceiling. Known as the ‘Horn of Plenty’ it features individually placed screens which project images of the produce available within the market and is a truly spectacular sight to behold. It would almost be worth engineering a visit to Rotterdam simply to see this masterpiece.
It’s doubtful that any list featuring Europe’s most historic cities would be complete without mention of Rome. At its peak, Rome was a great and powerful city and there is much remaining evidence of that in Rome today. The Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon and Spanish Steps are all stunning examples of times gone by in this Italian capital.
Another great city for lovers of history, Athens is full to the brim of fantastic ruins which hark to ancient civilisation. The most famous sights here are the Acropolis, the Parthenon, The Theatre of Dionysos and the National Gardens although really, the list of stunning ruins and remains here could go on and on.
These eight cities all bring something different to the table when it comes to exploring the history and culture of Europe. For anyone with an interest in this area, these are great places to begin but there are plenty of other hidden gems which are also amazing places to discover.
Before heading to any of these cities we would recommend carrying out a bit of preliminary research so you don’t miss any of the interesting attractions and so that you get the best value from your accommodation. A quick internet search such as ‘hotels in Bayswater Road, London’ will give you a good place to start.