European Getaways: Enchanting Cities
Though Europe may be a small continent, the amount of unrefined and timeless places to explore are anything but. From the design of the buildings to the overall atmosphere, some European cities can only be described with one word — alluring. Be whisked away by these enchanting cities by strolling along the cobblestoned streets with years of history walked on it, rustic shops greeted by all walks of life and intricate architecture waiting to be marveled at.
Game of Thrones may have put Dubrovnik on the map as a hotspot, but the “Pearl of the Adriatic” showcases more than King’s Landing — just one look at The Old Town and you’ll see why this city in Croatia wears the title as being one of the world’s finest and well-kept medieval cities. Bask in the charm through this old part of the city that includes a perfectly-preserved city wall that you can walk along to see the quintessential orange roofs that are special to Croatia. While here, be sure to eat, drink and shop at the Stradun, or the Placa. Palace Knezev Dvor, Palace Sponza, Luža Square, Bell Tower, Onofrijeva Cesma and the Dubrovnik Cathedral are also sights to check off your to-do list.
In the summer, Dubrovnik not only shines as a charming city, but it also transforms into Croatia's largest cultural celebration at the Dubrovnik Summer Festival. Held at the Old Town, 47 days and nights are filled with classical music, theater, opera and more. This year’s festival is from July 10 - Aug. 25. Note that the old town is a traffic-free zone, so you’ll have to use your feet to explore this part of town.
Prague is a city adorned with Gothic architecture, bohemian flare, hidden courtyards and everlasting beauty. The Old Town Square in the heart of this city is a district that must be visited. Buildings of pretentious Baroque and Gothic architecture compete with street artists for your attention in this vibrant and historic place. Also, be sure to check out the Astronomical Clock of the municipal building, the Charles Bridge that leads you over the river Moldau from the Old Town to the Lesser Town and St. Nicholas Church which is bursting with gold and frescoes under an almost 230-feet wide dome. However, to feel like you’ve stepped into a fairytale, head to Prague Castle where you can witness the changing of the guards.
For the food-lovers, sink your teeth into a trdelník — irresistible chimney cakes dusted in sugar nuts or cinnamon. For a more savory dish, try grilované klobásy — grilled sausages in a form of a roll drizzled with different kinds of sauces. Be sure to wash it down with a refreshing Czech beer as microbreweries are flourishing throughout the city.
The attractive city in Italy’s Tuscany region is known as the birthplace of Renaissance and with good reason. Every corner you turn, architectural masterpieces greet you with churches adorned with frescoes, medieval chapels and many art museums to choose from. The famous and oldest art museum, Galleria degli Uffizi is one to amaze tourists as famous works from Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci are held here.
Part of Florence’s charm lies within the Palazzo Vecchio, the stunning open piazza which is home to popular statutes such as the statue of Perseus with the head of Medusa and a replica of David. Of course, one can’t go to Florence and not climb the Duomo at the Basilica of Santa Maria del Fiore. Also, another way to catch a glimpse of this gorgeous city is heading to the Piazzale Michelangelo which boasts an incredible panoramic view of Florence.
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