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 "a room with a view" and phenomenal art. Indeed, no city in Italy can... 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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    The Danube Valley »

    The Danube Valley
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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

    The wide, busy streets around Rome’s central train station feel much more urban than the rest of the city center. Traffic is heavier, 19th-century buildings are taller, and the overall feeling is gray and commercial—not the Rome of travel brochure fantasies... Read more

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    Milan »

    Milan

    At the center of Lombardy is Milan, Italy's second-largest city and its business capital. 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... Read more

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    Venice »

    Venice

    Venice is called La Serenissima, "the most serene," a reference to the majesty, wisdom, and impressive power of this city that was for centuries the leader in trade between Europe and the Orient, and a major center of European culture. Built entirely on... Read more

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    Paris »

    Paris

    Whether it's a riverside vista that takes in the Seine, Notre-Dame Cathedral, and the Eiffel Tower, or the view of elegant buildings and mansard roofs from a hotel room window, it doesn't take much to convince anyone that Paris is one of the most beautiful... 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 »

    A romantic warren of arcaded streets, Padua has long been a major cultural center of northern Italy. Home to Italy's second-oldest university, founded in 1222, it attracted such cultural icons as Dante (1265–1321), Petrarch (1304–74), and Galileo Galilei... 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

    Barcelona is a banquet for all the senses, though perhaps mainly for sight. Not far behind are the pleasures of the palate. The air temperature is almost always about right, more and more streets are pedestrianized, and tavern after tavern burrows elegantly... Read more

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