So, let’s grab the atlas and start planning for our future travels
I can just imagine how long your travel wish-list must be growing now because I know mine is.
I read through captivating posts on different European destinations, whether they are large cities or quaint villages. There are just so many tempting locations that keep finding their way on to my bucket list.
Our passports sit in our travel drawer, just dying to be used again.
Pont des Amours, on the edge of Lake Annecy
We’ve been lucky enough to visit a number of beautiful and fascinating cities throughout Europe, some bustling with life 24-hours-a-day and others so ancient and demure. All full of incredible history and different cultures to be embraced.
I have chosen a small selection of cities that you’ve probably heard of and a few others that are lesser-known. Each of them full of charm and appeal, and all are overflowing with an intriguing history.
The interior of the Mosque–Cathedral of Cordoba
The ancient city of Córdoba has history flowing everywhere, snaking between the well-trodden cobbles, whispering from the golden sandstone walls and peering down from the terracotta-tiled rooftops.
It’s a city that just oozes character.
The Romans undoubtedly left their distinctive mark on Córdoba; however, for me, it’s the awe-inspiring Mezquita that the Moors bestowed, that I found breathtaking. I was lost for words at the beauty of the never-ending forest of ochre and cream arches.
The Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba truly needs to be seen to be believed.
Not only is the UNESCO Historic Centre of Córdoba home to a Mezquita, but it also has the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos, a Roman Temple and Bridge and delightful plazas.
The Roman bridge of Córdoba
Córdoba is also renowned for its stunning floral courtyards and patios. To see them in full display there is a festival held annually each May.
A helpful guide
Ahhh the call of Andalucía, I love nothing more than planning a trip and so often I use the DK Eyewitness books. I find them extremely informative, easy to follow and the pictures and maps tempt you into discovering more.
We used a previous version of this book to plan our southern Spanish road trips, now you can grab the revised copy.
More Spanish delights
The hills are alive with the sound of music, ahh the delightful dulcet tones of Julie Andrews.
Salzburg is a city of elegance, allure and of course the birthplace of the incredible composer, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in 1756.
The UNESCO Historic Centre of Salzburg is so striking. The charming streets are lined with beautiful Baroque architecture, eye-catching façades around every corner and delightful wrought-iron shop signs, to keep the city’s character and spirit alive.
The Mirabell Palace Gardens, Salzburg
A helpful guide
If you've yet to discover Austria, then let's start planning. I find these DK Eyewitness Travel Guides invaluable. They're extremely informative, easy to follow, and the pictures and maps tempt you into discovering more of those fascinating sites.
You can now grab a recently revised copy of this guidebook, so you won't miss a thing.
Over the rooftops of Trento
This historic city was once part of Austria and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, it is only since 1919 that Trento was annexed to Italy.
Trento is full of so much charisma, and it really feels like it hasn’t yet been discovered by tourists. The architecture throughout the city is stunning.
There are ornate façades on noble palazzo’s, marble balconies overlooking ancient streets and scenic frescos painted on the front of historic buildings.
Once you’ve discovered the Buonconsiglio Castle, the meandering rustic streets, Romanesque Duomo of San Vigilio and Palazzo Pretorio then rest your weary feet in Piazza Duomo. Here you can sit back and soak up the delightful Italian atmosphere and enjoy a glass of the local sparkling wine, Trento DOC.
Ohh, I fell in love with Croatia a few years ago when we headed there from the UK on a road trip. More specifically, I fell in love with Zadar and the stunning opal blue Dalmatian coastline.
The ancient walled city of Zadar is incredibly historical, from its Roman Forum, St Donatus Church and the glorious Venetian influences throughout Zadar’s cobbled streets and quaint delightful squares.
St Donatus and tower beyond, Zadar
Zadar has undoubtedly been through some turbulent times over the centuries, and I love how it embraces modern twists into its historic surroundings.
I couldn’t think of a better way of ending a perfect evening than taking a stroll along Riva by the Adriatic Sea while listening to the enchanting Sea Organ and watching the pulsating lights to The Greeting to the Sun.
Zadar is a beautiful city and one I would return to at the drop of a hat.
A helpful guide
If you've yet to discover the delights of Croatia you're in for a treat. While planning our road trip, I used the DK Eyewitness books. I find them extremely informative, easy to follow and the pictures and maps tempt you into discovering more.
We used a previous version of this book to plan our north to south Croatian road trip, now you can grab the revised copy.
Now we are in Germany, the northwest to be exact, in the delightful city of Bremen.
Just so that you know, Bremen is actually pronounced “Bree-men”, we've always said "Brem-en" – well, not anymore.
Bremen may not necessarily be high on your bucket list; however, if you are looking for a charming German city with plenty of history, stunning architecture and welcoming locals, then I can highly recommend Bremen.
Marktplatz with the Rathaus and the Dom spires in the background
We visited Bremen during the Christmas markets and wouldn’t hesitate to return at any other time of the year as we found there was so much more to discover.
Bremen’s Town Hall (Rathaus) located in the gorgeous Marktplatz is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Located all around the square are historic buildings including the Bremen Cathedral, the Parliament Building and also the Roland Statue. Just off of Marktplatz you’ll also find Glockenspiel House, that’s if you don’t hear the 30 glockenspiels chiming before you arrive.
A quaint little square in the Schnoor district of Bremen
There’s one district of the Hanseatic city of Bremen not to miss. That’s the quaint cobbled streets around the Medieval Schnoor neighbourhood. Full of charming character, tiny lanes, interesting sculptures and some wonderful cafés.
Dinners sitting in Praça de Santiago at night, Guimarães
Not only does Guimarães have a castle, medieval squares and the Palace of the Dukes, but it also has friendly restaurants and plenty of beautiful praças to relax in and soak up the warm atmosphere.
We embarked on our Portuguese road trip from the UK, catching a Brittany Ferry to Santander.
However, there are regular flights to Porto and Lisbon, take a look at ebookers.com. Then pop in your location details and Rental Cars will search well-known car hire brands and discover the deals that suit you the best.
A little change from Romania’s capital city of Bucharest and that’s Timișoara in the west of the country.
The colourful city of Timișoara is another of my choices that are overflowing with history. From the changing of occupation during the Middle Ages to the more recent Romanian Revolution in December 1989.
Dauerbach palace, Timișoara
Timișoara was the centre for the street protests that led to the Romanian Revolution and the overthrow of Nicolae Ceaușescu, the leader of the Communist party.
Timișoara’s historic centre has some beautiful squares and recreational gardens to enjoy, as well as the stunning architecture lining the wide streets and boulevards.
The Löffler palace, Timișoara
Another interesting fact relating to Timișoara’s is that it was the first European city to have its streets illuminated by electric light in 1884.
In 2023 Timișoara will become the next European Capital of Culture.
We’re now off to one of my favourite countries, and that’s France. Heading to the picturesque city of Annecy with its stunning lake and the mountainous scenic backdrop.
Annecy is located in France’s southwest in the Haute-Savoie region and only a few miles from the Swiss border. No wonder fondues are popular here, not that Gary was complaining.
Annecy at dusk
Annecy is a popular city all year round as it appeals to visitors for its winter activities as well as your summertime tourists. The attractive canals and waterways that meander around the city are beautiful and make Annecy a wonderfully relaxing place to visit.
Sitting on an island in the heart of the old town is a 12th-century castle in the Thiou River which now houses the Annecy History museum. Although for a long time it served as a prison and courthouse, until the French Revolution.
You must stroll along the pedestrianised Rue Sainte-Claire. This picturesque street is charming any day of the week, cafés, boutiques, cobbled lanes, arcades & little squares.
However, on market days, your senses move into overdrive.
Heading off from the UK?
* This post may contain links to affiliated sites where we earn a small commission at no additional charge to you.
Inspired to start planning?
(Why not Pin It for Later?)
If you enjoy what you see, and you’d like regular updates then join us for a monthly newsletter.