A Quick Note on the Top 10 European Cities

27 Aug


If you’ll notice on the left of the post is a list of my personal Top 10 Cities in Europe. I’ve never really given much of an explanation for how I came to this list, and since this is a travel blog, it only makes sense to give a reason. Now, I obviously have not been to every city in Europe, but I have been to a lot, so if your favorite city isn’t on the list, don’t feel bad. It could just be that I haven’t gotten around to your neck of the woods yet. But in due time, hopefully, I’ll get there.

Here’s the list again:

  • 10. Barcelona, Spain
  • 9. Granada, Spain
  • 8. Taormina, Sicily
  • 7. Rome, Italy
  • 6. Interlaken, Switzerland
  • 5. Lagos, Portugal
  • 4. London, England
  • 3. Dublin, Ireland
  • 2. Prague, Czech Republic
  • 1. Sevilla, Spain

There are a few different things that go into making the list. First and foremost, Sevilla is at the top because I lived there for four months and had a great experience. But it was also a great party town with its own unique culture. Flamenco dancing and bullfighting are the pride of the city, and as images people associate with Spanish culture, they represent the very best in Sevilla. Cheaper than Madrid and Barcelona, it was also a city where you could stretch the dollar a little bit, though admittedly, not much further.

Sevilla, Spain

Prague was one of the best cities I’ve visited in any continent, and comes second to Sevilla only because I didn’t live there, thus not being in town long enough to truly capture the local flavor. The exchange rate was great, allowing us to eat like kings for reasonable prices. There’s so much energy and artistic beauty in the city that most people fall in love with it instantly.

Dublin and London, while fun cities with great cultures, dropped down on the list because they were so expensive. In Dublin, even buying food at a grocery stand and making it yourself costs a ton. The British Pound is bad enough, and when you take into account the fact that one beer could wind up costing around $10, that’s going to take away from any relief you might get from the drink.

Lagos, Portugal and Interlaken, Switzerland were two amazing towns that were known within the circle of travelers backpacking the continent, but not overcrowded by buses of tourists. Lagos is an amazing beach town with a laid back attitude, yet there is still a downtown area with a few bars and clubs. The beaches were stunning and the surrounding scenery left you in awe. Interlaken, on the other hand, was a quiet little mountain town in the middle of the Swiss Alps where extreme sport junkies came to get their fix. Everything about the town was small and friendly, and with only a handful of hotels and two hostels, there was never a moment of overcrowding. The only bar in town was at one of the hostels. The scenery in Interlaken was like something out of a fairy tale.

Interlaken, Switzerland

Rome is a fun city with amazing history and activities to keep you busy for a week. Though I had a great time both times I visited, the city dropped down on the list because of how dirty and sketchy parts of the city could be. Street peddlers and gypsies were all over the place, and it was always necessary to keep your eyes open. I never felt unsafe and would go back again and again, but the city could be too much at times. Other Italian cities just seemed more laid back, which is where Taormina comes in.

Taormina is really more of a bigger town in Sicily, but with a rich history and a pretty promenade, it had a charm that made you feel welcome and at home. Delicious bottles of wine cost 1-2 euros, the food was great, and the locals friendly.

Blending in, Taormina, Sicily

Granada makes the list because of a cozy feel, tucked away in the Sierra Nevada. Also, I made a point of trying kebab in just about every city and country I visited in Europe, and Granada by far had the best kebab out of them all. I’ve even tried kebab in the Middle East, and it wasn’t as good as it was in Granada. I tip my hat to the chefs.

Barcelona comes in at number 10, which may be a surprise to some. It’s not that I don’t like Barcelona, I do, but I don’t necessarily love the city. So why does it make the list? It’s a fun city with a great night life, but with that being said, you need to watch you back or you’re in trouble. Don’t even think about hanging out on Las Ramblas past 1 a.m. if you can’t take care of yourself. Much like Rome, there is a problem with crime and theft, and it’s important to keep guard. Visiting the city for a few days was fun, but I wondered if an extended period of time there would burn me out. Barcelona also had some great architecture from Antonio Gaudi and interesting museums, including the Pablo Picasso Museum.

There were other cities that just didn’t make the list simply because it would have to keep going and going, nulling the point of a “Top List”. I had a great time in Berlin and Vienna just like I did in Dublin and Granada, but for different reasons, they were kept off the list. I encourage everyone to get out there, experience these cities and others as well, and make their own list. There’s a ton of world out there to see, and more often than not, you’ll find yourself having a good time.

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