My Five Favourite Cities in Europe

I have been mentally working on this blog post for almost four years. Having been to more than 20 major tourist cities in Europe, I still don’t feel fully equipped to pass judgement on this topic. But, it’s about time I put my thoughts on paper. Well… on the Internet (And thanks to the wonders of the Internet, I can always edit this list if I change my mind a year from now).

A  lot of people often ask me, “What’s your favourite city in Europe?” and I am always stumped for an instant response. Copenhagen has the best cafes, Berlin has the best street art, Rome has the best food, and Paris has the best shopping. Ranking them in any particular order is definitely a tough job, but it’s a challenge that I am up for.

So, after years of deliberation, here are my five favourite cities in Europe:

5. Venice

I’ve probably already lost credibility for those people who think that Venezia stinks of dirty water and tourist traps. Regardless of the colour of the water and whether I can swim in it, I am an aqua aficionado. I am also huge admirer of urban planning. This entire city is built on 117 small islands in a marshy lagoon! How cool is that? There is something charming about the fact that people in Venice give you directions that sound something like: “Walk this way until you pass three bridges and then make a left under the fourth bridge and then right at the next small bridge.”

VENICE

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Venezia

My favourite cities in the world are places with character; places that say something; places that tell a story in every street corner; places that have personality, punch and pizzaz.

Venice Venezia has it all.

Built on 117 small islands in the marshy Venetian Lagoon, Venezia has the world’s most artistic masterpieces per square kilometre. As if the glistening Gondolas in the Grand Canal and the marble churches weren’t enough, Venezia had to be laden with the best combination of high-end Italian fashion and Venetian craftsmanship. Whether you explore this city gliding through the waterways or getting lost in the callis (alleyways), you are bound to feel a romantic, yet pompous, vibe from this place. It’s like in the movies: the soft, melodious music is always playing in the back of your head as you make your way from Piazzale Roma to Piazzale San Marco. The interesting urban planning, with the city built around the canals and not streets, is bound to make you loose your way, but it’s a popularly accepted fact that getting lost is the best way to see Venezia. And even the hoards of lost tourists feel like admirers under a spell, and not a touristy crowd.

Venezia has inspired my poets and songwriters, and I don’t blame them one bit for hopelessly falling in love with this city. I am no poet or painter but I have learned to appreciate beauty through the lens of my camera. I am sharing some modest shots that don’t do justice to the vibe, glory and romanticism of Venezia.

"White swan of cities, slumbering in thy nest So wonderfully built among the reeds Of the lagoon, that fences thee and feeds, As sayeth thy old historian and thy guest!" - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

"The sylphs and ondines And the sea-kings and queens Long ago, long ago, on the waves built a city, As lovely as seems To some bard in his dreams, The soul of his latest love-ditty." - Lord Lytton

"A realist, in Venice, would become a romantic by mere faithfulness to what he saw before him." - Arthur Symons

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