A new year brings new possibilities. If you haven’t planned your holidays yet, take a look at our list of the most dreamlike European cities worth a visit this year. Exciting and diverse - these words describe the upcoming trips! From the colorful Turkish streets full of people and scents to the breathtaking Icelandic hot springs and geysers. Our list sticks to the alphabetical order but it’s up to you which city will become your destination. See you there!
Despite its undeniable aura of Englishness Bath is a really European city. Sometimes it is compared to historic Italian or French cities, however, this one has a unique, insular atmosphere. Located in the picturesque valley of the River Avon Bath is considered a spa town in which the remains of the Roman baths can still be seen – what is suggested by the very name Bath. The British leader of fashion Richard Beau Nash was working in this city and made it the most fashionable resort in the United Kingdom. Bath was Jane Austen’s home from 1801 to 1806 and the actions of her two novels take place in this particular city. This is also the place where Londoners craving rest head for! The city abounds in small, beautiful and extremely interesting museums and pop-up boutiques. Additionally, various culinary, music, and theater festivals are organized here throughout the year. No wonder a lovely travel and lifestyle magazine Cereal is based in this unusual British city.
Belgrade is one of the oldest cities in Europe. Similarly to Bath, it is located near the river, more specifically – at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers. Thanks to its ethnic diversity Belgrade is very authentic, full of extremities it may not be an ideal destination for organized excursions but it will certainly please all adventure seekers. Here, music pervades the air - from folk through Yugoslavian varieties of disco music to Balkan rhythms of all kinds. Tiny shops with spices from all over the world, strong and cheap coffee, Art Noveau and Renaissance buildings. The fascinating amalgamation of cultures and experiences untouched by the Western aesthetic. Rakia and lovable people. Treasure hunters will be thrilled with the possibility to visit Belgrade Fortress - the greatest Belgrade’s treasure with its Orthodox churches, Turkish baths, Muslim tombs, monuments, fountains and parks open all year round.
The capital of the Greek Island, Santorini, located on the western edge of the island on a breathtaking caldera. Dazzlingly white houses make the city look as if it was carved in stone. The unique charm and unforgettable atmosphere of Fira etch in every visitor’s memory, especially the view of the city suffused with light of the setting sun. During summer the place is quite crowded and full of tourists. There is plenty of restaurants where local food can be enjoyed while appreciating wonderful sceneries. It is even possible to learn first-hand how to prepare local meals. Fira is a perfect destination for those who long for warmth and relaxation but also want to have fun. They will surely have it! In addition, this Greek city is an ideal starting point from which a traveler can tour the whole island. Pleasant weather encourages whole year visits.
A magical place. Not as snobbish as Budva but equally if not more beautiful that the Croatian city of Dubrovnik. The magical aura of the city lies in its incredible location – the Gulf of Kotor is reminiscent of Norwegian fjords being sometimes called the southernmost fjord in Europe. The unusually varied buildings with Roman, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque influences will satisfy every aficionado of beautiful architecture. The Mediterranean, narrow, meandering alleys; lovely small stores with gold and spices; excellent weather… Suffices to say that the name of the city has its roots in Old Greek and means “heat”. Delicious food and the best sundaes. Now, there’s nothing left to do but dream about holidays!
Hot Andalusia – heated up with the sun and heart-piercing flamenco. Nerja - the end of Europe, the beginning of Africa. The place bears the name of “The balcony of Europe” – coined by King Alfonso XII who was captivated by the landscape when he stood on the Andalusian precipice for the first time and was able to see the other continent. Beautiful beaches, marvelous cliffs, clear waters of the Mediterranean Sea, and caves with the most gigantic stalactites in the world. The surroundings of the city attract trekking, walking, and diving lovers. A real Heaven on Earth, provided you enjoy scorching hot temperatures – over 40 degrees in the shade. You can go there all year long, the weather will surely spoil you and, who knows, maybe the richness of tropical and sea fruit will make you stay in Nerja for a little longer!
Prague, Czech Republic
A city of rare beauty. Truly liberated, boasting numerous historic and contemporary buildings Prague is included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. Meandering alleys, coffee shops, boutiques, and voyages along the Vltava River wait for tourists all year long. The beautiful Old Town, The Charles Bridge, Hradčany- the Castle District or Vyšehrad are must-sees while visiting Prague. Literature lovers can follow the places which still bear the footprints of Franz Kafka, drink black, steamy beverage in one of abundant coffee shops that hosted not only Kafka but also such famous personae as Nezval, Seifert, Poláček, Hašek. Czech Republic and Prague itself comprise the explosive mix of friendly, open people, unique art and unusual, one of a kind monuments. Let alone the world-famous Czech breweries. This year - Prague is a must!
One of the most extraordinary places on our list – Iceland – has not been a tourist attraction for a long time. Located where North America and Europe meet, this island between two hemispheres seems cold, mysterious, and inaccessible. The saddest music in the world is most probably being composed right there while in winter a day lasts only 3 hours. Surprisingly, according to researchers Icelanders are the happiest people in the world! Reykjavik, the world’s northernmost capital, is the capital and largest city of Iceland. It was established by Vikings and called “Smoke Cove” because of the steam from hot springs and geysers. Everything out there may appear unusual for the Europeans from the continent. Quoting the words of Halldór Kiljan Laxness, an Icelandic Nobel laureate who, in his novel Iceland’s Bell, described a typical feast: “They served moss-mash, soured tripe, hardener codheads, moldy butter, and shark meat hard as a stone”. The life in Iceland is austere and simple what is mirrored in the way people communicate with one another as well as in architecture and art. It’s an amazing refuge from everyday reality. Reykjavik is waiting!
Rotterdam, the Netherlands
While talking about the Netherlands most people think about tulips, windmills, canals, cheese, Amsterdam… This time, we stray from the main tourist trails and present the European gems, hence, we invite you to the once biggest Dutch port – Rotterdam. This modern, beautiful Dutch city is located at the Rhine-Meuse-Scheldt delta on the North Sea. Rotterdam offers plenty of attractions apart from the biggest European port. It’s a place of residence for a lot of eminent architects and famous designers. The city is known for Kubuswoningen - a set of intriguing cube houses designed by architect Piet Bloom in 1984. Besides, a great many of festivals is being organized there, e.g.: the Caribbean Summer Carnival, Dance Parade, Rotterdam 666, Metropolis open air music festival, and The World Port Days. The Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Yannick Nezet-Seguin is also based in this second-largest Dutch city. Rotterdam is the capital of underground music and alternative film festivals. It also has a beautiful landscape that astounds visitors especially at night when they can admire the charm of stunningly glowing lights.
A unique city – that’s for sure. Despite its location on two continents but because of Turkey’s ongoing accession process to the EU we didn’t hesitate to include Istanbul on our list. It takes only a two-and-a-half hour flight from Poland to stand at the gates of the Orient. During summer, the city bursts with tourists, prices wind up crazily and the sun is scorching hot. That is why it’s advisable to go there in the early autumn. Istanbul is still one the world’s largest and Europe’s most populated cities – its checkered history reveals itself in front of our lives. Isn’t it fascinating, though? The inimitable Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, the Hippodrome of Constantinople, the Grand or Spice Bazaar – a real paradise for the senses of travelers hungry for inspiration.
Our list wouldn’t exist without Wrocław. A city with a really boisterous history and a mix of both historical and cultural influences - Wrocław stands as one of the most dynamically developing cities in Poland with the largest, and most beautiful Old Market in Europe. Diverse attractions await tourists -Henryk Tomaszewski’s Pantomime, Jerzy Grotowski’s Laboratory Theater and numerous international festivals – Vratislavia Cantans and Jazz nad Odrą to name a few. The architecture of the city reminds of its over thousand-year-old history and, similarly to the other cities on our list, Wrocław’s location on both sides of the Oder River makes it the city of islands and bridges. Ostrów Tumski - the Cathedral Island is the well-known historical and spiritual center of the city. In 2016, Wrocław will become the European Capital of Culture but it is the place worth a visit right now to enjoy all the attractions it offers. Remember that you can always stay at our PURO Hotel Wrocław :)