Lucy Colins, from Glasgow, recently graduated in English Literature and now enjoys spending as much time as she can travelling and exploring the world. She uses her blog, tannedtraveler.com, to write not only about places she has been, but to write about places she would like to visit, share her passion for adventure, and offer advice to fellow travelers. Here Lucy takes us through the top cities from her favourite continent, Europe, along with the best reasons why you should visit this year. Read on and get inspired!
Top European Cities to Visit This Year (by Lucy Colins)
Europe is a vast continent with so many destinations that are thriving with a multitude of cultures. There is no better way to experience different traditions and ways of life than to journey through Europe. With each place different from the last, this popular tourist utopia is rapidly growing in its number of visitors each year. Within each European destination, you can learn, see, taste and completely engage yourself in a culture that may be completely different to your own. After spending a lot of time exploring a large portion of one of my favourite continents – Europe, I have chosen to share some of the places I fell in love with the most and what I recommend as the top European cities to visit this year.
A truly enchanting place to visit and one that will capture the heart. This delightful Italian city is built on more than one hundred small islands in the Adriatic Sea. Venice is famous for having no roads and is networked by canals which means boat or foot is the main method of transport. Piazza San Marco is the main square in Venice, bustling with traditional cafes, bars and most notably – the local pigeons. You will be amazed by the architecture of the buildings which are comprised of renaissance and gothic styles. One of Venice’s most famed buildings is St. Mark’s Basilica – a Roman Catholic cathedral that boasts byzantine design and incredible detail both inside and out.
Visit Venice at the beginning of the year to experience a once in a life time event – Carnival of Venice. Grab a mask and a costume and get involved in the colourful action that takes place for two weeks between January and February. This annual festival ends on Shrove Tuesday – the celebration of Mardi Gras. Carnival is famous for its overstated and colour masks which are accompanied by bright and elaborate costumes. Throughout the duration of the festival there is an action packed calendar of events going on around the city such as parties, balls and parades. During Carnival, Venice comes to life, bursting with colours, extravagance and animation.
Sweden’s capital city is a fantastic destination to visit. It beautifully blends classic history encompassed with an evolving modern society. It is bursting with elegance and culture and truly lives up to its reputation of being a peaceful and welcoming place to visit. Almost every café, shop or home lives up to true Scandinavian design and it is also a city for foodies. Take a seat in a sleekly decorated restaurant and enjoy trending dishes made up of eclectic and unique ingredients or simply indulge in the traditional cuisine such as Swedish meatballs and fried herring. Be sure to visit laidback yet sleek authentic Swedish eatery – Tradition. Here you can delve into delicious plates of steamed cod with butter sauce, beef rouladen and potato dumplings. This place is a must when in Stockholm.
One of Stockholm’s most popular annual events is Pride – a festival to celebrate and raise awareness for the LGBT community. It is the largest pride festival in Scandinavia and attracts visitors from all over the world to be a part of this momentous celebration. The event begins in July and spans for over a week with workshops, seminars, concerts and of course, the famous parade. This event is a celebration of life, colour and love and a memorable one to be a part of.
Visit Barcelona for a city that offers the best of both worlds – city life and beach life. It is full of culture, past-times and incredible architecture – an absolute must for when seeking a European holiday destination. Visit the Sagrada Família; the largest unfinished church in the world that has been under construction since 1182, it is a truly remarkable sight. Take a tour of the city and see some of famous architect Gaudí’s magnificent buildings such as Casa Vicens and Palau Güell. When staying in Barcelona, there are many accommodation choices for travellers on all budgets. For the penny saving visitor, Kabul is a popular favourite and always has a great party going on. Located just off La Rambla, this hostel is cheap, in close proximity to attractions and a whole lot of fun. For the more upmarket travellers, Capri by Fraser never disappoints. With spacious serviced apartments and state-of-the-art facilities, this luxury accommodation provides comfort and convenience.
One of the biggest events in Barcelona each year is the Spanish Grand Prix. Spectate from the side-lines and listen to the roaring engines whizz by at one of the most exciting events in sports. The F1 race takes place at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in May. This exhilarating event creates a fun day out for everyone, not just motorsport enthusiasts. If you are lucky enough to be in Barcelona during the Spanish Grand Prix, don’t miss your chance to get your hands on one of the hottest tickets in town.
One of the UK’s most popular cities, Edinburgh is a magical place full of antiquity and wonder. From cosy pubs that tell their own stories of past times to high-end, trendy cocktail bars, Edinburgh has it all. From sightseeing, to sought after dining this wonderful Scottish capital is warm and welcoming. Take a tour of Edinburgh Castle, built high above the city on an extinct volcano in the 12th century this incredible structure also offers breath-taking views from the top. If you enjoy hill walking, take a stroll up Arthur’s Seat where you can get a glimpse of nature within the city and gaze down on Edinburgh from 360-degree views.
The biggest event to take place in Edinburgh each year is the Fringe Festival. Every August, hundreds of thousands flock to the city to be a part of the world’s largest arts festival. Thousands of shows take place throughout the city during the month of august as well as food festivals and much more. Each night at Edinburgh Castle military bands from all over the world and the British armed forces perform a series of military tattoos. This incredible spectacle finishes with a colourful firework show. Experiencing the Edinburgh Festival is something highly recommended to anyone who may be travelling this way.
Wherever you decide to visit in Europe this year, be sure to check what events are going on at the time. You may just be in for a treat!
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