Medieval alleys, canals and bridges. There are many nice city centres in Europe, pointing out the most cozy one is, of course, an impossible mission. But we do still try to list these five favourites for a lovely autumn weekend getaway. Here are five Europe’s coziest city centres.
Picturesque Bruges, Belgium
Travellers who like Venice have found a new favourite: Bruges in Belgium is one of Europe’s best preserved towns from the Middle Ages. With its picturesque buildings, old churches, cobblestone streets, and – not least – small canals that wind through the city of Bruges. It has everything we associate with the more famous Italian city in the lagoon. Overall, this Belgian city is definitely one of Europe’s most beautiful spots to visit.
Stroll inside the city walls, enjoy refreshments at the outdoor terraces overlooking the canals, and indulge in good dinners at any of the city’s gourmet restaurants. Do not miss the chocolate museum Choco-Story and the local brewery Da halve mann.
A tip is to start your stay with a canal tour. It is cozy and at the same time it gives a good overview of the city.
Fabulous Edinburgh, Scotland
Medieval buildings, narrow alleys, hills, stairs and bridges – to stroll in Edinburgh’s Old Town is like a stroll in a romantic story from another time. The centre point is the majestic Edinburgh Castle, around which the town began to take shape in the 1100’s, and it is also around the castle you can find the most of the charming and oldest Quarter.
The city’s most famous street, The Royal Mile, cuts through the city from Edinburgh Castle all the way down to the Palace of Holyrood and the newly built Scottish Parliament. This was once a royal procession street, today it is a tourist street with souvenir shops, restaurants and cafés. Visit the charming square Grassmarket that once attracted people with public executions. Today it hosts pavement cafés, pubs and restaurants which are the city’s major trump card.
To get a nice view over Edinburgh you should head to the small hill Arthur’s Seat which is located within a walking distance from the city centre. Bring a picnic basket.
Charming Amsterdam, The Netherlands
There is something special with canals and bridges. Distances are short so you can enjoy pleasant walks, and instead of the bothersome traffic centre many people are using bicycle paths. The fact is that the inner city has an atmosphere like if the Dutch old masters are still painting the walls of the grand Rijksmuseum.
Do not miss the city’s hottest area – Jordaan. Once this was Amsterdam’s seedy working-class neighbourhood, today it is a trendy area with several galleries, bars and restaurants. Jordaan is also good for shopping, you can find anything from vintage and local markets to the exclusive designer shops there. Anne Frank House is also located in Jordaan, which is always worth a visit.
Exotic Split, Croatia
Europe’s coolest and weirdest city centre can be found in Split, Croatia. It is dominated by the cityscape of the Roman Emperor Diocletian’s palace from 200 ‘s, although it’s in ruins it is not abandoned. Split’s old town lies within its walls with its winding streets, architecture of several centuries, and lots of small restaurants and cafés. Additionally, local people are living their lives inside the leaky walls. Diocletian ‘s palace is, in other words, the city’s main attraction and a vibrant small city centre in one.
Do not miss the square Narodni tragesa, which means People’s Square, located just outside the walls, locals and tourists gather here from morning to midnight. The Square is especially beautiful at night when white marble on the ground is shining in the spotlight.
Historic Valletta, Malta
Steps, alleys and sand-coloured palaces. Boutique hotels, wine bars and – not least – the sea. In the shadow of metropolitan cities, such as Barcelona, Paris and Rome, Valetta keeps developing into one of Europe’s hottest weekend cities .
As for shopping, Valetta certainly does not reach all the way, but the cozy safety factor is a hit. The balconies hanging like green grape bunches in the alleyways and then opens up into small squares, street corners decorated by Madonna figures and beneath all this the ocean awaits where small boats are chugging back and forth. The city is simply perfect for quiet strolling and coffee breaks in the sun.
Do not miss the Valletta market which is open every day from 8 o’clock in the morning. It has everything from clothes, movies, bracelets and toys to delicacies and handicrafts.