Try to think of some of the world’s most scenic cities and the names which spring to mind might include places such as Rio de Janeiro, Cape Town, Vancouver and San Francisco. These cities all have their own very individual identity but also have a lot in common. Their coastal location with a backdrop of hills or mountains lends itself to stunning views wherever you are in the city. So can Europe offer any scenic gems to rival those great cities? Here are just a few suggestions….
Lisbon must certainly be a contender for one of Europe’s most scenic cities. Magnificently sited on a series of hills running down to the grand Tagus River, beautiful views are found at every turn down its colourful, picturesque streets, and from viewpoints at the top of each hill. The city has an unpolished, seductive appearance with its tiled façades and pastel-coloured buildings.
Another city which is impossible to ignore if you want stunning scenery is Geneva. Known both as the “smallest of big cities”, or the “city of peace”, Geneva, among other things, is home to the European headquarters of the United Nations. Nestling at one end of Lake Geneva, the stunning mountains of the high Alps provide a backdrop to the city on one side with the Jura Mountains on the other side. On a clear day you can see the snow-covered peak of Mont Blanc. A walk along the quayside to the famous “Jet d’Eau” or water fountain, is a must. The alleyways of the old town and the smart boutiques also offer an invitation to a leisurely stroll.
Dubrovnik is a city with a sublime location overlooking the calm blue waters of the Adriatic and is one of the world’s most magnificent walled cities. Now a UNESCO world heritage site, Dubrovnik is Croatia’s most up-market destination, with prices far higher than in the rest of Croatia. The main draw is the charming pedestrian-only old town, packed with aristocratic palazzi and Baroque churches, Many people are also attracted to the city in summer for its beaches although if you are looking for a tranquil break, the high season period of July and August should be avoided.
There are many more European cities which can offer visitors an enticing mix of attractive city and scenic backdrop. We’ll take a look at one or two more over the coming weeks.