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Between 1853 and 1870, Baron Georges-Eugene Haussmann reconstructed Paris, making it one of the best-planned cities in the world. New building facades, public parks, sewers and waterworks, city services, and public monuments, among other urban planning elements, were inserted into the existing European cities.
It is the birthplace of the Gothic style and contains significant monuments from the French Renaissance, classical revival, Napoleon III’s Flamboyant style, the Belle époque, and the Art nouveau periods. It is one of the best-preserved cities in the world, displaying many of history’s most beautiful spiritual artifacts, such as cathedrals and churches, dating from the fall of the Roman Empire to the French Revolution.
Must Visits: Versailles Palace, Eiffel Tower, Louvre Museum, Notre Dame Cathedral, Centre Georges Pompidou, Fondation Louis Vuitton Paris, Palais de Tokyo Expansion, Palais-Royal, Bibliothèque Nationale de France.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Amsterdam’s architecture is a fascinating mix of UNESCO-listed 17th-century canals, works by Dutch architect Berlage, the architectural movement of Amsterdam School, and cutting-edge modern developments in the commercial sector. Amsterdam has become one of Europe’s architectural treasure troves, with more historic structures and sites than any other city in the world, as well as international significance in terms of modern design.
Canal houses and boat houses are well known in Amsterdam. Amsterdam boasts one of Europe’s largest ancient city centers, with 90 islands connected by 400 bridges. Because there was no severe bombing in the city during World War II, most of its historic buildings and streets have remained untouched since the 19th century.
Must Visits: Royal Palace, NEMO Science Center, Oude Kerk, Van Gogh Museum, Borneo + Sporenburg Bridges, RAI Car park, Rijksmuseum.
The arch, the dome, and the vault were all developed in Rome, which was once the world’s main epicenter of classical architecture. From Ancient Roman architecture to Italian modern and contemporary architecture, Rome’s architecture has evolved dramatically over the years. Every stone and aging frescoes is alive with history. The old St. Peter’s Basilica, the first medieval basilica and the building in which Bramante and Michelangelo established the High Renaissance, may be found in Rome. Bernini and Borromini, whose rich and vivid spatial shapes impacted Baroque as far as Vienna, are also represented. Architects and artists have accurately recognized Rome as an immortal city throughout the years. Roman structures set the precedent for how the Western world will grow.
Must Visit: St. Peter’s Basilica, Roman Forum, Trevi Fountain, The Coliseum, The Pantheon.
Barcelona’s most captivating feature has to be the city’s diverse architectural styles. There are Baroque buildings, a Gothic area, and, of course, modernist Antoni Gaud’s magnificent creations.
Barcelona, as the birthplace of Antoni Gaud, attracts throngs of visitors each year who come to admire his spectacular architecture. Many Antoni Gaudi structures, including the famed and yet unfinished Sagrada Familia, may be found in Barcelona. Barcelona features a well-balanced mix of ancient and modern architecture, with the former centered around the Barri Gotic (old city) and the latter created during and after the city’s expansion.
Must Visit: La Sagrada Familia, Casa Battló, Barcelona Pavilion, Barcelona’s opera house.
Germany’s architecture has a long, rich, and varied history. Every major European architectural style is represented, from Roman to Postmodern, including notable examples of Carolingian, Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Modern, and International Style architecture.
Because there is no definite center to the city and attractions are scattered across the urban fabric, arrange your day properly. It’s an architectural utopia for anyone who appreciates a fine architectural blend of old and new, as well as a fascinating but complicated history. It’s also fascinating to witness how Berlin has changed dramatically over the last 100 years, a period during which the city has seen Imperial architecture, Nazi and WWII-era architecture, communist architecture, and modern architecture.
Must Visit: Berlin Philharmonic, Reichstag, Brandenburg Gate, German Historical Museum, Jewish Museum.
The Romanesque, Christopher Wren’s Baroque masterpiece St Paul’s Cathedral, the High Victorian Gothic of The Palace of Westminster, the Art déco, and so much more can be found in London’s architecture.
The palaces of London have played a significant role in the formation of British history. There is no single architectural style that defines London. Instead, it has a jumble of styles that it has amassed over time. With the exception of notable sites such as the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, and Banqueting House, only a few constructions predate the Great Fire of 1666. The late Middle Ages Perpendicular Gothic, High Victorian Gothic, and Queen Anne styles are the most distinctive forms that originated in England.
Must Visit: Westminster Palace, Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, Saint Paul’s Cathedral, The Gherkin.
Prague, Czech Republic
The majority of Prague’s buildings have been repaired and preserved in their original architecture, giving the city’s landscape the appearance of being from another age. Architectural styles such as Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, and Rococo may be seen throughout the city. Prague, often known as the “golden city of spires,” has thousand-year-old architectural splendor, including Medieval, Baroque, and Renaissance structures. The city is known for its spectacular castles, palaces, and Gothic churches, which contribute to its appeal to historians, tourists, and architecture fans.
Must Visit: St. Vitus Cathedral, St George’s Basilica, Prague Castle, Charles Bridge, Old Town Square.
Toledo, located just south of Madrid, is a picture-perfect city with easy navigation and some of Europe’s most intriguing specimens of classic architecture. The Cathedral, properly known as the Catedral Primada Santa Maria de Toledo, is one of Toledo’s most important and renowned structures from this period.
Toledo is a UNESCO world historic site with more than 2,000 years of history. Its architecture reflects the city’s long history. With three major world religions claiming the city, it’s not one to be missed if you’re interested in religious architecture.
Must Visit: Plaza del Zocodover.
Stockholm’s historic structures have been preserved to a considerable extent because of the city’s lack of war destruction, which was typical throughout Europe at the time. Stockholm is home to some of the world’s earliest twisting skyscrapers and is surrounded by water, making it one of Europe’s most diversified architectural environments. Unlike many other European towns, Sweden’s architecture has been maintained in large part due to the city’s survival from conflict. Neoclassicism was renamed Swedish Gustavian, and the classicism of the 1920s, which included Art déco, formed a distinct style known as Swedish Grace.
Stockholm is full of historically painted residences and businesses, in addition to the grandiose Gripsholm fortress and Drottningholm Palace.
Must-Visit: City Hall, Vasa Museum, Djurgården.
Bordeaux, France’s largest city and capital of the Aquitaine region, is one of Europe’s most popular vacation spots. Bordeaux Cathedral is a Roman Catholic church erected in the 14th century in Gothic and Romanesque architectural styles. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a national monument of France.
The spacious Place de la Bourse, which served Louis XV and is today ideal for taking in all of Bordeaux’s splendor, is not to be missed.
Must Visit: Grand Theatre and the Cathedral Saint Andre, Pont de Pierre, Palais Gallien, Place de la Bourse, Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux.
The architecture of Hungarian Baroque churches is distinguished by conspicuous towers and gateways, as well as windows lit by side naves. The architecture of the castle was inspired by the traditions of the previous century. Budapest dubbed the “Paris of Eastern Europe,” is one of Europe’s most beautiful towns for architecture. Art Nouveau architectural styles may be seen all across Budapest, a mix of styles that reflect Hungary’s eastern past. Budapest’s urban landscape is dominated by a kaleidoscope of Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque Revival styles and combinations thereof. Budapest’s ancient Jewish Quarter is also home to Europe’s largest synagogue, which is on Dohány Street.
Must Visit: Parliament, Hungarian State Opera House, Dohány utca Synagogue, Fisherman’s Bastion.
Athens, Greece’s capital, is the birthplace of democracy and home to some of the world’s most spectacular specimens of ancient Greek architecture. Significant archaeological temples from the city’s lengthy history, neoclassical mansions, and vast concrete residential towers combine to form a chaotic but fascinating metropolis.
The wonderful ancient Greek architecture seen throughout the city speaks to the city’s rich heritage. The Parthenon on Acropolis Hill is a must-see in Athens; constructed in 448 BC, the Parthenon embodies the lasting essence of Athens’s culture and society.
Must Visit: Ancient Greek theater, Parthenon.
Pink sandstone is used in Gothic buildings and some Romanesque architecture. Strasburg, as one of the European Union’s seats, is a multi-faceted city with gothic-style bridges and modern and post-modern architecture. Strasbourg serves as a major business, commercial, and cultural hub. Strasbourg is home to a variety of European institutions and agencies, including the European Parliament, the Council of Europe, and the European Court of Human Rights, in addition to its traditional role as Alsace’s capital.
Must-Visit: Strasbourg Cathedral, Musee Historique de Strasbourg, Barrage Vauban.
Venetian Gothic is the name given to a specific type of Italian Gothic architecture found in Venice. It evolved from local building requirements, with some influences from Byzantine and Islamic architecture, and reflects Venice’s commercial network. Take a gondola ride around the city’s narrow canals to get a close look at Venetian Gothic architecture. Venice is a cultural and tourism hotspot known for its museums, architecture, urban landscape, and art world.
Must-Visit: Mark’s Basilica, Palazzo Ducale, Torre dell’ Orologio, Basilica Santi Giovanni e Paolo.
The Harach and Kinsky palaces, as well as Prince Eugene of Savoy’s winter house, are all in the Baroque style, which was Vienna’s dominant architectural style in the 17th and 18th centuries. By the Danube River, Vienna, Austria, features a mix of architecture from several periods and styles, ranging from lavish Baroque-era monuments to a rejection of high embellishment in the twentieth century. Vienna’s history, or Wien as it is known, is as rich and complex as the architecture that depicts it. The magnificence of the country’s baroque and rococo castles and churches is legendary. It also has a diverse collection of internationally acclaimed Gothic and modern architecture.
Must-Visit: The Imperial Palace of Schonbrunn, Austrian Parliament Building, Stephanskirche.
The Architecture of Dubrovnik, Croatia includes Gothic, Renaissance, and late Romanesque. The walls of Dubrovnik are made of limestone dating back as far as the early 1300s. The architectural styles include a blend of Romanesque, Renaissance, and Baroque. Along the Adriatic coast, there are many less glamorous traditional stone buildings with red-tiled roofs, which coexist with historical architectural gems and late-twentieth-century hotel complexes.
Must-Visit: Minceta Fortress, Sponza Palace, Prijeko street, Franjevacki Crkva Male Brace, City Guard Building
Florence’s architecture is dominated by a single art movement, the Renaissance. Florence was the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance and one of the most influential towns in European history. Florence, the capital of Tuscany, boasts masterpieces of ancient Greek and Roman architecture, Gothic architecture, and Renaissance architecture.
Travel back in time to this culturally and historically rich Italian city that exemplifies European architecture at its best.
Must-Visit: Santa Maria del Fiore, Pallazo Vecchio, Basilica di San Lorenzo.
Madrid is one of Spain’s most famous tourist destinations, with a large number of culturally connected attractions and landmarks.
Many of Madrid’s ancient neighborhoods and streets have been preserved thanks to the city’s architecture. One of the most distinguishing characteristics of Madrid’s architecture is that the major styles that shaped each period moved as Spain’s monarchical monarchy shifted from Flanders to Austria to France. Finally, rather than inventing an independent style, Madrid’s architecture combined the inspirations.
Must Visit: El Escorial, Plaza Mayor, Gran Via, The Carrión.
From Christian IV’s early 17th-century landmarks to the magnificent 17th-century mansions and palaces of Frederiksstaden, to late 19th-century residential boroughs and cultural institutions, Copenhagen’s architecture is characterized by a wide variety of styles. Copenhagen is the capital of Nordic cool thanks to its developing beer culture, some of the world’s top restaurants, royal history, and dedicated pedestrian- and cycle-friendly zones. Danish architecture can be traced back to Viking war encampments and the Roman, Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque periods. Danish architecture has been popular all around the world since the twenty-first century.
Must Visit: Royal Danish Opera House, Superkilen Park, Cirkelbroen, National Aquarium Denmark, Copenhill.
From the medieval qualities of the Old Town to the elegant Georgian New Town and more modern constructions like the Quartermile and New Waverly Arches, Edinburgh is known around the world for its gorgeous architecture. In Western Europe, Edinburgh is a one-of-a-kind capital. Scotland is known for its architecture. From crofts, castles, Victorian tenements, and Georgian country homes to cutting-edge designs of today, Scotland’s landscapes are home to unique constructed heritage and architecture.
Must-Visit: Edinburgh Castle, Calton Hill, The Scottish National Monument, Nelson’s Monument.
Zurich’s central location in Western Europe makes it an ideal starting place for an Alsatian wine tour or a quick journey to Venice. Buildings in all major architectural styles, such as Roman, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Modern, and Postmodern architecture, may be found in Switzerland. The cathedrals of Basel, Geneva, Chur, Sion, and Lausanne all feature the twelfth-century Romanesque style. The city has become a mecca for young artistic and culinary creatives in recent years, and the city’s major river is so clean that you may swim in it. Ninety-nine percent of the city’s residents say they are completely content with their lives in the economic powerhouse—and they’re clearly on to something.
Must-Visit: Grossmünster Church, Fraumünster Church, Lindt Home of Chocolate, Europaallee, Swiss National Museum Extension, Toni Campus, K.I.S.S., Freitag Tower.