London, the capital of England and the United Kingdom, is a 21st-century city with history stretching back to Roman times. At its centre stand the imposing Houses of Parliament, the iconic ‘Big Ben’ clock tower and Westminster Abbey, site of British monarch coronations. Across the Thames River, the London Eye observation wheel provides panoramic views of the South Bank cultural complex, and the entire city.
Area: 1,572 km²
Population: 8.788 million (2010)
Currency: Pound sterling
Frankfurt, a central German city on the river Main, is a major financial hub that’s home to the European Central Bank. It’s the birthplace of famed writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, whose former home is now the Goethe House Museum. Like much of the city, it was damaged during World War II and later rebuilt. The reconstructed Altstadt (Old Town) is the site of Römerberg, a square that hosts an annual Christmas market.
Area: 248.3 km²
Population: 717,624 Thousand (2010)
Florence, capital of Italy’s Tuscany region, is home to many masterpieces of Renaissance art and architecture. One of its most iconic sights is the Duomo, a cathedral with a terracotta-tiled dome engineered by Brunelleschi and a bell tower by Giotto. The Galleria dell’Accademia displays Michelangelo’s “David” sculpture. The Uffizi Gallery exhibits Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus” and da Vinci’s “Annunciation”.
Area: 102.41 km²
Population: 379,122 Thousand (2010)
Rome, Italy’s capital, is a sprawling, cosmopolitan city with nearly 3,000 years of globally influential art, architecture and culture on display. Ancient ruins such as the Forum and the Colosseum evoke the power of the former Roman Empire. Vatican City, headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church, has St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museums, which house masterpieces such as Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel frescoes.
Area: 1,285 km²
Population: 2.868 million (2010)
Amsterdam is the Netherlands’ capital, known for its artistic heritage, elaborate canal system and narrow houses with gabled facades, legacies of the city’s 17th-century Golden Age. Its Museum District houses the Van Gogh Museum, works by Rembrandt and Vermeer at the Rijksmuseum, and modern art at the Stedelijk. Cycling is key to the city’s character, and there are numerous bike paths.
Area: 219,4 km²
Population: 821,752 thousand (2015)
Vienna, Austria’s capital, lies in the country’s east on the Danube River. Its artistic and intellectual legacy was shaped by residents including Mozart, Beethoven and Sigmund Freud. The city is also known for its Imperial palaces, including Schönbrunn, the Habsburgs’ summer residence. In the MuseumsQuartier district, historic and contemporary buildings display works by Egon Schiele, Gustav Klimt and other artists.
Area: 414.6 km²
Population: 1.767 million
Budapest, Hungary’s capital, is bisected by the River Danube. Its 19th-century Chain Bridge connects the hilly Buda district with flat Pest. A funicular runs up Castle Hill to Buda’s Old Town, where the Budapest History Museum traces city life from Roman times onward. Trinity Square is home to 13th-century Matthias Church and the turrets of the Fishermen’s Bastion, which offer sweeping views.
Area: 525.2 km²
Population: 1.759 million
Currency: Hungarian Forint
Würzburg is a city in Germany’s Bavaria region. It’s known for lavish baroque and rococo architecture, particularly the 18th-century Residenz palace, with ornate rooms, a huge fresco by Venetian artist Tiepolo and an elaborate staircase. Home to numerous wine bars, cellars and wineries, Würzburg is the center of the Franconian wine country, with its distinctive bocksbeutel (bottles with flattened round shapes).
Area: 87.63 km²
Population: 124,219 thousand (2015)
Lauf an der Pegnitz is a town to the East of Nuremberg, Germany. It is the capital of the district Nürnberger Land, in Bavaria. It is in the valley of the River Pegnitz, which flows through the town.
Area: 59.8 km²
Population: 26,378 thousand (2016)
Marken is a village with a population of 1,810 located in the municipality of Waterland in the province of North Holland, Netherlands. Marken forms a peninsula in the Markermeer and was formerly an island in the Zuiderzee.
Area: 87.63 km²
Population: 1,810 thousand (2012)
Venice, the capital of northern Italy’s Veneto region, is built on more than 100 small islands in a lagoon in the Adriatic Sea. It has no roads, just canals – including the Grand Canal thoroughfare – lined with Renaissance and Gothic palaces. The central square, Piazza San Marco, contains St. Mark’s Basilica, which is tiled with Byzantine mosaics, and the Campanile bell tower offering views of the city’s red roofs.
Area: 414.6 km²
Population: 264,557 Thousand (2014)
Currency: Euro / Italian Lira
Salzburg is an Austrian city on the border of Germany, with views of the Eastern Alps. The city is divided by the Salzach River, with medieval and baroque buildings of the pedestrian Altstadt (Old City) on its left bank, facing the 19th-century Neustadt (New City) on its right. The Altstadt birthplace of famed composer Mozart is preserved as a museum displaying his childhood instruments.
Area: 65.678 km²
Population: 146,631 Thousand (2014)
Paris, France’s capital, is a major European city and a global center for art, fashion, gastronomy and culture. Its 19th-century cityscape is crisscrossed by wide boulevards and the River Seine. Beyond such landmarks as the Eiffel Tower and the 12th-century, Gothic Notre-Dame cathedral, the city is known for its cafe culture and designer boutiques along the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré.
Area: 105.4 km²
Population: 2.244 million (2010)
Rouen, capital of the northern French region of Normandy, is a port city on the river Seine. Important in the Roman era and Middle Ages, it has Gothic churches, such as Saint-Maclou and Saint-Ouen, and a cobblestoned pedestrian center with medieval half-timbered houses. The skyline is dominated by the spires of Cathédrale Notre-Dame, much-painted by Impressionist Claude Monet.
Area: 21.38 km²
Population: 110,933 thousand (2010)