Best Places to Visit for Art & Culture in Europe

Whether you prefer to see the classics in Rome or modern-art installations in Basel, we've captured Europe's best arts and culture destinations. You'll find traditional arts and culture centers like Florence and Paris in the lineup, plus a few surprises, like Cambridge and Granada.

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    Florence »

    Florence

    Florence, the city of the lily, gave birth to the Renaissance and changed the way we see the world. For centuries it has captured the imaginations of travelers, who have come seeking rooms with views and phenomenal art. Florence's is a subtle beauty—its... Read more

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    Cambridge »

    Cambridge

    With the spires of its university buildings framed by towering trees and expansive meadows, its medieval streets and passages enhanced by gardens and riverbanks, the city of Cambridge is among the loveliest in England. The city predates the Roman occupation... Read more

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    Córdoba »

    Córdoba

    Strategically located on the north bank of the Guadalquivir River, Córdoba was the Roman and Moorish capital of Spain, and its old quarter, clustered around its famous Mezquita, remains one of the country's grandest and yet most intimate examples of its... Read more

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    Vienna Woods, Lake Neusiedler, and the Danube River »

    Vienna Woods, Lake Neusiedler, and the Danube River

    A trip along the Austrian Danube unfolds like a treasured picture book. Roman ruins (some dating to Emperor Claudius), remains of medieval castles-in-air, and Baroque monasteries with "candle-snuffer" cupolas perching precariously above the river stimulate... Read more

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    Salzburg »

    Salzburg

    Art lovers call Salzburg the Golden City of High Baroque; historians refer to it as the Florence of the North or the German Rome; and, of course, music lovers know it as the birthplace of one of the world's most beloved composers, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart... Read more

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    Rome »

    Rome

    Rome the Eternal is 25 centuries old and constantly reinventing itself. The glories of Ancient Rome, the pomp of the Renaissance Papacy, and the futuristic architecture of the 20th and 21st centuries all blend miraculously into a harmonious whole. You... Read more

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    Milan »

    Milan

    Italy's second-largest city and its business capital is at the center of Lombardy. It holds Italy's most renowned opera house, and as the epicenter of Italian fashion and design, it's a shopper's paradise. Rome may be bigger and have the political power... Read more

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    Venice »

    Venice

    Venice is a city unlike any other. No matter how often you've seen it in photos and films, the real thing is more dreamlike than you could imagine. With canals where streets should be, water shimmers everywhere. The fabulous palaces and churches reflect... Read more

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    Paris »

    Paris

    Paris is one of the most beautiful cities on earth, a truth easily appreciated on a stroll that could yield one stunning vista after another, from the epic Eiffel Tower to the regal Jardin des Tuileries to the petite cafés bursting onto the sidewalks... Read more

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    Basel »

    Basel

    Although it lacks the gilt and glitter of Zürich and the Latin grace of Geneva, in many ways Basel (Bâle in French) is more sophisticated than either. Situated at the frontier between two of Europe's most assertive personalities—France and Germany—and... Read more

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    Padua »

    Padua

    A romantic warren of arcaded streets, Padua has long been one of the major cultural centers of northern Italy. Its university, founded in 1222 and Italy's second oldest, attracted such cultural icons as Dante (1265–1321), Petrarch (1304–74), and Galileo... Read more

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    Bilbao and the Basque Country »

    Bilbao and the Basque Country

    Northern Spain is a misty land of green hills, low russet rooflines, and colorful fishing villages; it's also home to the formerly industrial city of Bilbao, reborn as a center of art and architecture. The semiautonomous Basque Country—with its steady... Read more

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    Madrid »

    Madrid

    Madrid—the Spanish capital since 1561—celebrates itself and life in general around the clock. A vibrant crossroads, Madrid has an infectious appetite for art, music, and epicurean pleasure, and it's turned into a cosmopolitan, modern urban center while... Read more

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    Granada »

    Granada

    The Alhambra and the tomb of the Catholic Monarchs are the pride of Granada. The city rises majestically from a plain onto three hills, dwarfed—on a clear day—by the Sierra Nevada. Atop one of these hills perches the reddish-gold Alhambra palace, whose... Read more

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    Barcelona »

    Barcelona

    The capital of Catalonia is a banquet for the senses, with its beguiling mix of ancient and modern architecture, tempting cafés and markets, and sun-drenched Mediterranean beaches. A stroll along La Rambla and through waterfront Barceloneta, as well as... Read more