When you have the chance to live in Europe, it would be selfish not to take advantage of the proximity of the countries and the price of flights. Personally, I love going on a weekend, exploring a capital of Europe. Put the minimum in my suitcase and leave after work for an unknown destination. Each capital has its own history, style and good addresses. In two or three days, you usually have time to see the sights of the city, discover more secret places and enjoy the local cuisine in a restaurant at the end of the day. If you’re looking for inspiration for your next getaway, here are my top 6 capital cities to visit in Europe !
Top 6 Capital Cities to visit in Europe
All the paths lead to Rome
And mine took me there far too late! As a great fan of Roman history, gladiator movies and of course, pizza, I was more than excited to discover Rome. The Italian capital is even better in real life than in the photos. I was able to discover historical treasures on every street – the Roman Forum, the Trevi Fountain or the Pantheon. I had two big favorites in Rome. The first one is the Coliseum, one of the most dreaming monuments in the world that went beyond my expectations. The second one is the Cat Sanctuary of Torre Argentina Square. Here, hundreds of cats have taken possession of ancient Roman ruins and are not against some hugs.
- Tip : book the Roma Pass before your visit to save money on sightseeing and transportation in Rome.
- A restaurant : the pizzas of Dar Poeta, in the Trastevere district, are the best in the world
Along the canals of Amsterdam
The capital of Amsterdam is perfect, whether you want a cultural, historical, gastronomic, festive weekend or all four at once. The city center of Amsterdam is not very big, which makes it possible to go around the city on a weekend. You’ll have time to take a walk around along the canals, enjoy a cruise through the city, spend some money in the many trendy shops in the city and have a beer (or more) in one of the many bars. If you want to know more about the Venice of the North, I wrote you an article about the six reasons to go to Amsterdam.
- A tip : it is very cold and rainy in Amsterdam during the winter. Try to visit the city in spring or fall to enjoy a bit of sun
- A restaurant : The Avocado Show for all the avocados fans!
London Calling Baby
Except if you come from the middle of nowhere, there is a good chance that you live not far away from an airport with cheap flights to London. London is a perfect destination for a romantic getaway or a weekend with family or friends. The English capital has so many neighborhoods to discover that you will have to go several times before you claim yourself expert of London. Personally, I love to visit the city without a precise itinerary, just by losing myself in the streets. My favorite parts are the Camden Market district that will always impress me and the Regent’s Canal in North London, which is a complete change of scenery.
- A tip : British Museum, Natural History Museum and the Changing the Guard Ceremony at Buckingham Palace are three free attractions
- A restaurant : Indian Food at Massala Zone, a real treat!
Discover the Golden City of Prague
If you have not been to Prague before, I advise you to quickly add this capital of Europe to your bucket list! I fell in love with this city that seems straight out of a fairy tale. I had two New Year’s Eve Party in Prague, so the temperatures were pretty cold. However, the cold did not stop me to explore the historic streets of the city or the climb to the imposing castle to enjoy an exceptional view of the city. Prague is simply stunning and, considering the cost of living there, money is not a problem to enjoy the city.
- A Tip : climb to the top of the Old Town Hall Tower to enjoy an incredible view of the roofs of Prague
- A restaurant : the V Zatisi for a strange mix of Czech and Indian cuisine
Getting lost in the streets of Lisbon
Lisbon is definitely a big favorite for me! A super blend of historic city with incredible landmarks, a southern European city with pleasant temperatures and a modern city with many events. Have a walk in the Baixa, admire the Belem Tower, drink a bottle of wine next to the Tagus River with a view of the Ponte 25 de Abril or party in the Bairro Alto district. Lisbon really seduced me. Around Lisbon, a few minutes away by public transport, you can also enjoy the beach to relax. Mix it all with friendly locals and very low prices and you get the perfect destination for a getaway!
- A Tip : enjoy a sunset overlooking the city at Largo Portas do Sol
- A restaurant : have breakfast or lunch at Audrey’s Cafe for delicious tapas
The amazing city of Berlin
Take the image you have of Germany and tell yourself that Berlin is the opposite! The German capital has never stopped to amaze me with its offbeat atmosphere, trendy neighborhoods, incredible history and legendary parties. During your Berlin gateway, you can see the city’s iconic landmarks, such as the Berlin Wall, the Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag or the Holocaust Memorial and learn more about the German capital’s heavy past. Then you can relax in more trendy neighborhoods. I love the district of Friedrichshain and its many small restaurants and bars!
- A Tip : do not miss the flea market at Mauerpark every Sunday! The perfect place to brunch while listening some good music.
- A restaurant : the Silo Café for a great brunch of poached eggs, avocado and goat cheese
My special mentions
Because I could not do an article on European capitals without mentioning those, here are some special mentions.
- Paris : capital of love, historic city, shopping and gastronomic paradise, Paris has its arguments to seduce. Personally not my favorite city at all (maybe because i’m French), I cannot deny that Paris has its own charm and I do not mind to spend a weekend. Even if it is just an excuse to go to Disneyland Paris.
- Vienna : undoubtedly the biggest fan of Princess Sissi since I was very young, Vienna has always made me dream. My parents realized my dream by taking me to Schönbrunn when I was 10 years old and I returned at 23 yo with the same stars in my eyes. Vienna is also full of incredible historical buildings, magical Christmas markets and more than delicious coffees.
- Brussels : the Belgian capital is for me the perfect destination for a weekend with friends. The historic city center is so cute and Grand Place is one of the most beautiful squares in the world. Moreover, you will enjoy an evening at the Delirium Cafe and its 300 different kinds of beer!