The most beautiful European destinations

When it comes to judging beautiful destinations in Europe listening to just one person’s view could mean you disagree vehemently with those opinions.

However, if you are able to draw on the opinions of more than 600,000 people, you might find those destinations more suited your tastes (then again you might not).

If you think crowdsourcing is likely to provide the best answers to the questions on beautiful European destinations, then European Best Destinations might just have provided the answers.

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The European travel site surveyed more than 600,000 travellers from 192 countries worldwide on the place they would most like to visit, with 61 per cent of the votes coming from Europe and 39 per cent from outside Europe.

Here are the top 10 most beautiful destinations, according to European Best Destination.

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10. Bydgoszcz, Poland
You could have knocked me down with a feather when I saw Poland made the list. While I haven’t been there myself, I have had a cousin and a good friend travel there and the reports were not glowing.

However, both of them went to Warsaw and neither went to Bydgoszcz, which boasts what some claim to be the most beautiful Gothic church in all of Europe as well as the opportunity for stunning walks along the photogenic Brda River.

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9. Paris, France
Hardly a surprise to see the city of love feature very highly on this list and makes me feel all the more disappointed that my trip to the city was cancelled during COVID last year.

The city is regularly voted as one of the most beautiful in the world, so it is probably more surprising that it hasn’t come in higher up the list. You can easily get lost in the beautiful alleys and parks in the Luxembourg Gardens or the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont.

8. Rijeka, Croatia
Not only is this seaside city stunning, it was also voted the European Capital of Culture last year, highlighting the destination as one of the most fashionable for discerning travellers.

The Rijeka Carnival, held every year before Lent, is the biggest in all of Croatia and is a great time to take in the culture and traditions.

7. Namur, Belgium
According to European Best Destinations, “Namur is an incredibly charming, endearing city with the Belgian surrealism of Brussels and romanticism of Budapest or Bruges.”

Climbing to the top of the Citadel provides some inspiring panoramic views of the city where the Sambre and Meuse rivers meet.

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6. Sibiu, Romania
Who would have thought that a city in Transylvania would make it into the top 10 of Europe? There are claims that Sibiu is just as Instagrammable as Prague or Santorini, while being just as romantic as Rome or Venice.

Nicknamed The City With Eyes, due to the iconic houses in the region, Forbes once ranked the city eighth in Europe’s most idyllic places to live and, like Rijeka, it is a former holder of the crown as a European Capital of Culture. The city also lies close to the Făgăraș Mountains – a popular trekking destination, close to the Păltiniș and Arena Platoș ski resorts.

5. Cascais, Portugal
Located on the Portuguese Riviera, Cascais is considered one of the most beautiful and prestigious coastal destinations on the continent. It has hosted the America’s Cup and is said to have provided the inspiration for Ian Fleming’s first James Bond novel Casino Royale.

Cascais is surrounded by popular beaches, while the lush Sintra Mountains to the north are a further attraction. The shoreline to the west has cliffs, attracting tourists who come for the panoramic views of the sea and other natural sights such as the Boca do Inferno.

4. Vienna, Austria
Now we are getting to the real heavy hitters. If you have never been to the Austrian capital, it is definitely one that you want to add to your bucket list. It regularly appears towards the top of the world’s most liveable cities list, usually as the best-performing European city and attracts over 6.8 million tourists a year.

While a great deal of Vienna’s beauty is attributable to its stunning architecture, it is also home to many awe-inspiring parks and green areas including the Stadtpark, the Burggarten, the Volksgarten (part of the Hofburg) and the Schlosspark at Schloss Belvedere (home to the Vienna Botanic Gardens).

3. Tbilisi, Georgia
Lying onthe banks of the Kura River,Tbilisi is located at the crossroads between Europe and Asia and its architecture draws from so many sources that it would be hard not to find something that meets your tastes.

Its notable tourist destinations include cathedrals Sameba and Sioni, Freedom Square, Rustaveli Avenue and Agmashenebeli Avenue, medieval Narikala Fortress, the pseudo-Moorish Opera Theatre, and the Georgian National Museum. The city hosted more than nine million international visitors in 2019.

2. Athens, Greece
It seems you can’t beat tradition. Athens is the cradle of civilisation and as well as being the birthplace of democracy it is one of the Mediterranean’s most spectacular landscapes, which merges both the present and the past effortlessly.

Parnitha National Park is punctuated by well-marked paths, gorges, springs, torrents and caves dotting the protected area. Hiking and mountain-biking in all four mountains are popular outdoor activities.

1. Colmar, France
Congratulations, if you guessed Colmar as the top European destination. I certainly didn’t, but that may be because I am not a big wine drinker. The region is a leading wine tourism destination, where you can drive along the wine route and visit some wine estates or simply stroll among the vineyards.

It is also the sunniest city in France, enjoying 300 sunny days a year. European Best Destinations says: “It is particularly magical at Christmas time: its Christmas market and incredible Christmas lights are unsurpassed. This destination is also worth a detour in the spring with its spring markets and numerous cultural events such as the Culture and Music Festival.”

Where is the most beautiful destination you have visited in Europe? Why not share your thoughts in the comments section below?

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Ben Hocking
Ben Hocking
Ben Hocking is a skilled writer and editor with interests and expertise in politics, government, Centrelink, finance, health, retirement income, superannuation, Wordle and sports.
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